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First Knife set advice

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
All,
I recently got married. both my wife and I enjoy cooking but we are not professionals so please keep that in mind. We are looking to buy our first knife set. We have heard henckels are great but they seem WAY to expensive. they make their international brand which we can afford. we were looking at their 16-18 piece sets called "premio" as they tend to be onsale right around 170-200. We were wondering what your opinions are on these? I know you tend to get what you pay for but we do not have a lot of money so 200is really top of our budget. Are there other sets we should look into. Again, we are not professionals but we do enjoy cooking. we mainly cook full real meals on the weekends due to our jobs so whatever set we buy will only be used a couple times a week. thanks
post #2 of 24
No set. Most sets are made of one -- too short -- chef's knife, and a plethora of specialized knives nobody would ever use, but you still pay for. And you get a mediocre steeling rod as a bonus.
Get one decent 240mm chef's knife, a peeler and a bread knife. Put almost your entire budget into that chef's knife. Henckels International's bread knife is OK. Otherwise, stay away.
A good chef's knife: assuming you're both right-handed, and looking for a stainless: Hiromoto G3, Misono 440. Both with JCK, japanesechefsknife.com
Get a sharpening stone in the 1200 grit range. You will be fine.
post #3 of 24
Thread Starter 
well the reason for the knife set is we need steak knives as well...again our budget is 200
post #4 of 24
Thread Starter 
post #5 of 24
Your chef's knife will be a poor one.
post #6 of 24

I second the 'no' sets advice... too many reasons to keep listing why it's a bad idea. (all the above and more is true of sets)

 

Get a really decent chef's knife, a petty and bread knife.

 

Get your steak knives and bread knife at Walmart (or other big box) for $5 a set of six.  (they will work just fine)

 

Since you are on such a tight budget I would go with the best steel possible and no flashy looks.

 

CKTG Richmond Artifex series.

Get the Culinary School set for $100  (210mm Gyuto, 10" Idahone Ceramic Rod and 8 slot knife bag)

150mm Utility knife $50 (can use it as a stiff boning knife as well as detailed prep);

and

Imanishi Two Sided 1k / 6k Stone $56

 

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The stone is a compromise - but you can get away using it for at least a year of sharpening every couple of weeks.

The knives will last you a lifetime and will easily fit in with whatever you might get in the future.

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

 

Reply

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

 

Reply
post #7 of 24

Benuser is right of course.  The steel they provide is essentially useless also.

 

On Ebay you can get absolutely beautiful steak knife sets for short money, some vintage items still in the box even.  And there is absolutely no reason they have to match your chef, slicer or petty, or the Idahone you really need to include in this set.  For short money you can also get new Forschener Rosewood knives, every bit as good as any German stainless, and attractive.  Aside from the Idahone for steeling you're going to have to sharpen these knives, that means some kind of stone.

 

On Ebay the 240 chef's and 240 slicer, 6'' utility blade and steak knives you can find for about $100 total.

 

Chefknivestogo has the 12" Idahhone and Bester 1200 (I would recommend the 2000 personally) grit stone for less than $100 shipped.  If you are leary about learning how to sharpen freehand you can get the Minosharp 3 pull-thru, but along with the Idahone you'll be at about $115.

 

So for less than the set you were looking at you have everything you really need, plus the all-important sharpening stone or minosharp, so you'll have enough left over for a knife block you can get on amazon.

 

What do you think Benuser?

 

Rick

post #8 of 24
I do like the Victorinox a lot -- but not as the most used knife, your chef's knife. Too soft, high tip, lot of belly. Have a decent Japanese gyuto or a French carbon and you won't need anything else, except a peeler and in the OP's case, some steak knives.
post #9 of 24

I agree Forcherner-Victorinox is not the best, but hard to beat for the $40 they can be had on ebay.  But now that you mention it the same $40 can actually get a vintage Sabatier in excellent condition.

 

Rick

post #10 of 24
Not so sure about that excellent condition. Most will require some work. Expect a reverse belly and protruding heel, at least. A new French carbon with sabatier-k.com might be an option, will cost the same as a Fujiwara FKH with JCK though, which is a much better knife IMHO.
post #11 of 24

It's a first knife set... forget about carbon and antiques... sheesh!

----

 


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

 

Reply

----

 


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

 

Reply
post #12 of 24
Within OP's restrained budget a carbon chef's knife is a very realistic option, I would think,
post #13 of 24

Their advice is sound. No sets. Waste of money. You really just need a decent... not an 8" german... chef's knife and a few other knives like paring, maybe bread, maybe slicer. I'd suggest a 240mm gyuto but you might be more comfortable with a 210mm if you don't have a large cutting board. A cheap combo stone like a King 1000/6000 should be all you need to sharpen your knives (which will get dull keep in mind). 

 

Buy steak knives separate. http://www.amazon.com/Tramontina-6-piece-Porterhouse-Steak-Knife/dp/B00H01X3JC ...Or something similar. I put all my steak knives on the knife magnet with all my other knives. No need for a wood block. 

post #14 of 24

For the general discussion, a few notes here - it's not just going to be the OP individually, it will also be his wife.  So at least 2 larger knives and 2 paring knives.  One bread knife will be sufficient.

 

Also, no mention here about cutting board, and minimal mention of hone and how to sharpen.

 

So I figure it as 5 knives (with deliberate duplication of chef and paring knives, for when both of them are working together in the kitchen), cutting board, hone and sharpening stone.  As for steak knives, much, much, MUCH lower priority - to the point where almost anything will do, at rock bottom price.

 

Now to address Bigeclipse directly:

 

Everyone else above is right about sets.  They are a waste of money, time, effort and counter space.  And at your price point, any offered set would be strictly for show-off display to your home visitors only.  And they would simply not have much value put into the most important part of the knives - the steel in the blade.

 

If you need knives for cooking, then you really need three knives - a chef's knife, a paring knife and a serrated edge bread knife.  If it's going to be both of you together prepping the food, then add both a second chef's knife and a second paring knife.  One serrated bread knife between the two of you should be sufficient.

 

Steak knives are at best an afterthought and should NEVER be a deal maker.  In fact, I would scrub the steak knives from the deliberate purchase list altogether.  You are going to have a lot higher priorities rather than allocate scarce money for showtime at the table.

 

With one exception, all of your knives should be Victorinox knives with Fibrox handles.  While some (see above) don't like "X50CrMoV15" steel and the blade profile, if we're in a budget crisis (and $200 is a budget crisis), I'll accept it, especially if it's for a starter kitchen.  Almost anything of lesser quality will just be junk and you have to s-t-r-e-e-e-e-t-c-h your budget.  And if necessary, consider a bit more of a stretch, out to a bit more than $200.

 

The one exception should be your principal chef's knife.  I would suggest a 240 mm (9-1/2 inch) gyuto.  The usual low-price suspects are: 

Tojiro DP ($99.95)   http://www.chefknivestogo.com/todpchkn24.html

Fujiwara FKS stainless 240 mm gyuto ($83.00) http://www.chefknivestogo.com/fufkmgy24.html

and Richmond Artifex AEB-L 240 mm gyuto ($89.95)  http://www.chefknivestogo.com/riar24gy.html

Each of these is an entry-level quality knife.  For details on each, look up the numerous threads about each knife.

 

All the rest of your knives will take a lesser place in your arsenal, so some savings are required.  That's why I'm looking at Victorinox.  I also should add that Victorinox seems to have raised their prices in the past few months, so they are not quite as much of a bargain as before - but they are still much cheaper than other "X50CrMoV15" knives.  So, I have tried to lessen that price rise shock by including clearance knives.

 

For the second Chef's knife: a Victorinox 10 inch White Fibrox handle is $39.99 (clearance) from Cutlery and More    http://www.cutleryandmore.com/victorinox-forschner-fibrox/chefs-knife-white-handle-p131422

 

Paring knives: Here, it's the plural - for two (just as there are 2 chef's knives).  Again, it's Victorinox Fibrox Handle (this time in black), regular price ($5.95 each, $11.90 for 2) at Cutlery and More, http://www.cutleryandmore.com/victorinox-forschner/paring-knife-p112130

 

Your only serrated bread knife isn't just for bread - it's for any foods with a tough outer skin and soft interior, such as tomatoes.  Victorinox 10 inch White Fibrox handle, $14.99 (clearance) from Cutlery and More - http://www.cutleryandmore.com/victorinox-forschner-fibrox/serrated-bread-slicing-knife-white-handle-p128104

 

Now, what you are going to need besides just the knives - some way to slow their getting dull and some way to sharpen them when honing doesn't work wonders.  That means a cutting board and a honing rod to slow the dulling, and a sharpening stone to resharpen your knives when they get dull.

 

And yes, it's important.  One of our knife gurus, "Boar D. Laze", put it this way: "If you don’t know how to sharpen,  don’t want to learn, and won’t or can’t invest in one of the choices which don’t require much learning – my suggestion is to stick with very cheap knives.  Anything expensive is just a waste of money."  (my apologies to BDL for copying his words from cookfoodgood.com).

 

So, first, with a cutting board.  Get one which is wood, from a reputable seller and at least 18 inches by 12 inches.  Here's a John Boos reversible 20 inch by 15 inch edge grain maple board sold by Cutlery and More for $47.95: http://www.cutleryandmore.com/john-boos-maple/reversible-edge-grain-cutting-board-p12068   It's not end grain, but I couldn't find a good end grain board under $50 (Until a few months ago, Michigan Maple Block sold a 15 inch square by 2 inch thick end grain maple block through Overstock.com, but that deal has now ended).

 

For a honing rod, just get the 12 inch Idahone fine ceramic honing rod from Chef Knives to Go for $30 - http://www.chefknivestogo.com/id12cerodwna.html .

 

And you need a sharpening stone, but first, read this: http://forums.egullet.org/topic/26036-knife-maintenance-and-sharpening/

 

And if you have access to a good local public library, consider going there and reading An Edge In The Kitchen by Chad Ward (the author of the immediate above post about knife maintenance and sharpening - the book is a considerable expansion of the above post).  The book was published in 2008, and prices are long out of date, but the basic information is sound.

 

Then consider this King 800/6000 combination stone ($44.95) http://www.chefknivestogo.com/kingcombostone.html  

 

Excluding the principal Japanese knife, your outlay is $189.78.  With any one of the 3 principal gyuto's, the final tally runs from $272.78 to $289.77.  This is two-sourced, and each source has enough value to insure that shipping is included free, though I don't know about sales tax.  And no, you don't get steak knives.  But you do get enough basic gear so the TWO of you can be in the kitchen at the same time (though maybe you need an additional cutting board?)

 

Okay everyone else, comments?

 

 

Galley Swiller


Edited by Galley Swiller - 3/26/14 at 10:13am
post #15 of 24

Block sets are usually a waste of money.  They look like a good deal when you see how many pieces you get, but when you did deeper you see it's a waste of money.  They give you a couple knives you might use and a bunch of stuff you won't.  There's usually too much overlap in styles and too much pure junk.  For example, the steel included is almost always totally worthless.  And do you really think $20 for a pair of scissors is a good deal?  I've spend decades as a pro cook and I almost never use a paring knife, much less several of them.  Steak knives are nice to have but they're frosting, not cake.

 

Set a budget, and get the best chef's knife, bread knife and boning knife you can get for the money.  Maybe a paring knife if you can't bear the thought of not having one.  Add a $10 Rikon peeler and call it a day.

"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
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"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
Reply
post #16 of 24

Best place to hit up is the clearance section of Cutlery and More. Pick your storage option be it block or magnetic strip and start choosing blades to fill it.

 

http://www.cutleryandmore.com/kitchen-knives-cutlery-clearance

 

The Henckels Premio and others in their International lines are anywhere from meh to OK but nothing really special. Whatever you get it will go dull and will need sharpening so you need a plan.

 

FWIW my most commonly used knives are a 8, 9, or 10" chef, 6" utility and a Chinese cleaver. Those are for general use and I do have some specialized ones such as a 10" cimeter and a 5" serrated utility which is the ultimate Belgian waffle knife.

 

I have 4" paring knives that double as steak knives. Like Phaedrus I don't use them, except as package openers.

 

Jim

post #17 of 24

OK who's thinking that perhaps the OP is thinking about sticking with the Ginsu at this point?  ;-)~   To pull it all together then and summarize, assuming you are moving beyond the Ginsu:

 

In all seriousness Big-e, your initial choice is not a good one, you do have options within your budget that are much better, BUT:

 

  • Understand first-off, unless you a willing to provide an effective means of sharpening your blades you will most definitely be better off with the Ginsu.  As the saying goes around here, "All dull knives are equal."
  • I recommended the Bester 2K stone, or a Minosharp 3 pullthrough (decent electric sharpeners are outside your budget).  Another mentioned the Iminishi 1-6K stone, perhaps the best combi stone for the money, but I feel you would be better served if going the hand-sharpening route with the Bester 2K to start with, and in time when you have some skills augment that with a finishing stone, and a Beston 500 for more serious reprofiling/thinning.  Or buy a decent electric and be satisfied with that, and a yearly trip to a competent pro sharpener for thinning.  Electrics and pull-thrus wear away your edge much faster than hand-sharpening, while also giving you a comparatively crude edge.

 

  • I checked ebay and there are no great deals at the moment for Forschener Rosewood or Sabatiers.  That being said, the Vic Fibrox already mentioned is the same blade in a different handle.  The belly is not as flat as a sab, but flatter than many other german knives.  Also, the steel is actually harder than what you will typically find in a carbon sab, not that this means the cut or maintenance will be better, it won't get as sharp, or necessarily require less sharpening.  The recommendations I gave are right within your budget, and as a starter set I think you will be happy with it for a good while.

 

 

Hope all this has helped more than confused and frustrated.

 

Rick


Edited by Rick Alan - 3/26/14 at 6:40pm
post #18 of 24
Thread Starter 

All,

I decided to listen to your advice and buy good knives. We ended up buying a misono ux10 9.5 inch gyoto, a mac superior 10.5 inch bread knife and a henckle zwilling pairing knife. I was in Japan last week and they have a street called "kapabashi street" in Tokyo dedicated to cooking retailers. Everything was far cheaper than amazon/online prices... some things were even 50% cheaper. Unfortunately I ran out of Japanese yen before I could buy a utility knife. I was wondering which knife you would go with that wouldn't break the bank. Thanks again everyone.

post #19 of 24

You've got some very good knives there (though I hope you didn't pay too much for the Henckels).

 

I wouldn't put too much emphasis on spending money on a utility.  A second chef's knife and a second paring knife would probably be a better investment, since you should also be thinking about having both you and your bride having fun in the kitchen together.

 

I will be a little bit contrarian and suggest you get an 8 inch carbon steel K-Sabatier chef's knife through Amazon.com (actually sold by China Fair.com).  At $59.99, that is very inexpensive for a quality traditional Sabatier;  My only quibble is that the bolster at the heel of the blade is a bit too thick and should be ground down before sharpening the knife for the first time.

 

The web site is http://www.amazon.com/Sabatier-Forged-Carbon-Steel-France/dp/B007NZPYVK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1396939419&sr=8-1&keywords=Sabatier+carbon+steel+chef%27s+knife

 

I still think that a Victorinox fibrox handle paring knife will be sufficient.

 

Hopefully, you still also have some money in your budget for (1) a good cutting board, (2) a hone and (3) some means to sharpen your knife.  I will belabor the point, since none of your sharp and shiny new toys will remain sharp, once you start using them.  (see my post, #14 above)

 

In fact, put the cutting board, the hone and the sharpening process at a higher priority than getting any additional knives.

 

Now, get cookin'

 

 

Galley Swiller

post #20 of 24
Nice choices on your knives. I think you will really enjoy them. I guess I would ask what is you purpose for the utility knife? I have and use one that I love but that's because I love my kitchen knives smile.gif. I can do everything I use the utility for with my gyuto. There are many nice utility knives out there that range in price from low to high, what would be the max? Also if you are both looking to prep at the same time there are options for a second prep knife. You could go second chef, santoku if your wife like this, western style funayuki etc. it all depends on budget and what the uses are. I would second galleys advice on the non knife items. If you are taking away from your budget for the accessories to buy this knife you may want to rethink. Enjoy the new knives.
post #21 of 24
Thread Starter 
thanks guys. we do have a decent cutting board. we will be buying a nice sharpening setup soon and having a pro show us how to use it. the henckel four star pairing knife was 20 bucks, the mac superior bread knife was 50 and the chef knife misono 9.5 inch ux10 was 110. so we are still under budget.
post #22 of 24

Great selection - too many times people come here for advice and don't actually heed any of it.   They also frequently never come back to make any follow up posts - other than what 'their' choice was.

 

I'd agree with the others - skip the utility, save them dollars and get a great slicer or another Chef's so you can both work at the same time.

 

Anyway - keep us posted on your choices.   The good, bad and ugly if it were...

 

/cheers... looking forward to an eventual 'what's a good slicer for under xxx thread?'

----

 


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

 

Reply

----

 


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

 

Reply
post #23 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigeclipse View Post

thanks guys. we do have a decent cutting board. we will be buying a nice sharpening setup soon and having a pro show us how to use it. the henckel four star pairing knife was 20 bucks, the mac superior bread knife was 50 and the chef knife misono 9.5 inch ux10 was 110. so we are still under budget.

 

Those are absolutely fantastic prices on the Mac and Misono, the best bread knife out there, a great gyuto, and for $20 on the pairing knife why not, congratulations, well done!

 

Since you'll have a pro instructing you, the Misono benefits from sticking with its very asymmetrical grind.

 

Rick

post #24 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick Alan View Post
 

 

Those are absolutely fantastic prices on the Mac and Misono, the best bread knife out there, a great gyuto, and for $20 on the pairing knife why not, congratulations, well done!

 

Since you'll have a pro instructing you, the Misono benefits from sticking with its very asymmetrical grind.

 

Rick

Thanks. If anyone is ever in Tokyo Japan, stop by kappabashi street. It is solely dedicated to professional cooking. Each store specializes in one thing such as only knives or only cutting boards or only electric appliances... etc. The best part is they are wholesalers directly connected to the manufacturer... no middleman and the prices were outstanding. I wish I knee it existed before I went because I would have brought more cash with me. We cooked with the chefs knife the other day.... it is amazing at the difference a good knife provides for cooking. SUPER sharp and well balanced. Thanks again for the wonderful advice!

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