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Set of Knives - Help (Question)

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

Hello, 

 

 

I am a beginning amateur cook looking to get a good set of affordable knives. My registry (I'm getting married soon) is at Bed, Bath & Beyond. Here are a few of the knives:

 

http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/store/category/cutlery/10519/

 

Because my wife and my budget is pretty small at this point in our life, I'd like to get a decent set of knives out of this. My eye is on the "J.A. Henckels International Premio 14-Piece Cutlery Block Set" for $160. What is your input? Is there another set that you would recommend?

 

It seems to me that it would be possible to buy most other things second hand or pretty cheap. Is there anything else you would say I need? 

 

Thank you!

 

 

toon-cook

post #2 of 13

In general, we counsel against sets. The Henkels international is a fairly egregious example of why as it's not even up to the Henkels name really. 

 

There are three or four types of knives you should consider. A chefs, a petty, a paring, and a bread knife. The bread knife is optional, but has its uses. 

 

Bang for the buck, you should look at Forschner Fibrox knives. They have excellent blade geometry but are of common steel as kitchen knives go. They're on the soft side so they don't perform at levels many here endorse.  It's the same steel as in the better Henkels so it's not a problem. The Forschner are also available in a wood handled grade if you prefer that for the extra cost. 

 

Spend the extra cash on a way to keep your blades sharp. Others will have good suggestions for you. 

Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 

Thank you so much for the quick and in-depth reply! I am impressed. 

 

I've been reading about cleavers, too. Would you recommend me getting one by the same brand? I want to make stock and will cut up whole chickens. 

 

Does the wooden handle make a real difference? It looks more impressive, but is there more to it? 

 

 

Thanks,

 

-cookingtoon

post #4 of 13

Cutting up chickens is more about disjointing than hacking through bones. Cutting out the ribs off the backbone is about the most bone cutting required on a chicken for butterflying and a pair of kitchen shears will do that or the chef's knife will as well. 

 

The wood handle is more about looks. The fibrox is fine and the Forschners I have are all Fibrox. 

Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #5 of 13
Clarification on the just say no to knife sets thinking.

This actually can be confusing for most when they first hear of the idea that I shouldn't be spending on a set. That is likely because both the larger makers and retailers invest plenty on promotion of their sets and they are advertised everywhere and always showing large if not insane discounts from the single item prices etc.

The reason they do this is too increase total sales dollars since they are getting you to buy more than you will need or use based on the idea of getting a better value, but the value is only "perceived" and never realized because you end up with a set that contains 80% that you may hardly if ever use.

The idea of just buying what you will actually need is a much better value, and when combined with the idea of using the money saved to allow you to purchase a much better brand or quality in the main knife that gets used considerably more than the others (chefs or gyuto etc) makes extreme good sense.

In the case of replacing a common $150-300 block set you will have plenty of savings to get one sweet entry level J knife (Tojiro, Fujiwara and more start sub $100 for a 240mm gyuto) that will run circles around most any of the typical chef's knife that come in the set.

The option mentioned previously about getting the four most used styles in fibrox or rosewood is also good and will leave plenty of $$ for upgrading other goodies, and the decision is all yours and both better than the set.

Look around here a bit and even search entry level or first Japanese knives etc and see if that matches your needs, wants, or expectations etc add there are definitely benefits for investing the few extra dollars, BUT be forewarned that once you feel the difference and see how much improved performance is available this can become a bit addictive and the lure of much more expensive knives is very common.

I just tonight helped someone to understand the difference between "Cheapo", Western style (Henckel, Wusthof Mundial etc), entry level Japanese (Fujiwara Tojiro), and a better mid range Japanese (Konosuke HD) and how they perform, feel, cut, and hold up differently.

This was for a senior woman who though not a pro cook had been cooking longer than I have been alive, and had given up on buying anything but cheap knives long ago due to not being happy with the edge retention etc.

After finding that her current experience with her own were somewhere between $4-6 discount store Chinese and Western knives that typically comein the sets 2 steps above what you were looking at (that needed sharpening BTW) from some basic cuts (paper and tomato) it was great to see her smile and take a step back after easily sliding a $30 Tojiro DP petty through the same tests.

After seeing the Konosuke just fall through both the paper and tomato she politely put the knife down and stepped away lol.

And the Konosuke is currently in need of a sharpening real soon.

The point is all knives can cut, and need to be sharpened etc, but how sharp and how often varies, but without getting too deep here you can get a nice knife that will get really sharp and stay sharp for a good time without having to spend hundreds of dollars, and there are many options that will produce good or better results, and most likely be the sharpest you have owned.

Just remember this can get expensive, and in today's prices the range of knives tested earlier went from $4-340 and there is a lot of room there.

Good luck and hope this was helpful.

 

"love my country" but "fear my government"  Something is just wrong with this

 

 

 

Looking for info on entry level J-knives? Need help on finding the most bang for your buck? Hope you enjoy learning from the info here, I know I did!

http://www.cheftalk.com/t/63213/tojiro-dp-f-809-240mm-g...

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"love my country" but "fear my government"  Something is just wrong with this

 

 

 

Looking for info on entry level J-knives? Need help on finding the most bang for your buck? Hope you enjoy learning from the info here, I know I did!

http://www.cheftalk.com/t/63213/tojiro-dp-f-809-240mm-g...

Reply
post #6 of 13
Oh and the last thing I used my heavy Chinese clever for was cutting up chicken parts and moss bunker for catching blue claw crabs. Did a great job of it, but doesn't get used often.

 

"love my country" but "fear my government"  Something is just wrong with this

 

 

 

Looking for info on entry level J-knives? Need help on finding the most bang for your buck? Hope you enjoy learning from the info here, I know I did!

http://www.cheftalk.com/t/63213/tojiro-dp-f-809-240mm-g...

Reply

 

"love my country" but "fear my government"  Something is just wrong with this

 

 

 

Looking for info on entry level J-knives? Need help on finding the most bang for your buck? Hope you enjoy learning from the info here, I know I did!

http://www.cheftalk.com/t/63213/tojiro-dp-f-809-240mm-g...

Reply
post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 

Hello, 

 

 

Thank you for your in-depth explanation! That makes a lot of sense. I have added a Tojiro DP Petty Knife, Paring Knife, and Chef Knife to my registry and taken the Fibrox set out (that's what I'd chosen earlier). 

 

What wetstone/waterstone/sharpening tool would you recommend for these? You seem to know a lot about Japanese knives, so I figure I should take the chance to learn. 

 

Thank you again for all the help! What a great community. 

 

 

-cookingtoon

post #8 of 13
Being it's a registry does change how you may want to approach this.

Also being it's at a retail store that will issue credit for anything you return that can then be used for whatever you like adds yet another dimension.

I am not going to advise on what to include on the list because any time I have for family or friends in the past the result was not positive lol, but the idea of listing items you may not intend on keeping is not original by any means wink.gif

But that's all up to you etc.

I didn't mean to sway you away from the fibrox, and was using the lower price point as an option to allow more funds to be available for the main knife etc and will add many do find them a good value.

I also had included the two Japanese brands for you to check out as they do seem to be on everyone's list for best budget etc and are also ones I have experience with and were also part of my first j knive purchase.

Oddly the choice between the two for a gyuto is a tough one for me because I prefer the feel and using the Fujiwara, but still prefer the VG10 steel used in the Tojiro, and it becomes a matter of personal choice or preference etc. I also know it's not easy to have a preference between two items that you can only actually handle one of lol.

If your stuck with what is avail at the specific store that will reduce your options while also helping you to make a decision easier because of the same limitations. So both good and bad.

Sharpening stones are an entire separate topic, and for me at least required as much investigating as my knife purchase.

Since they vary in price almost as much as the knives a budget range would be required as well as an idea of any experience with sharpening, and more.

Take a look at some of the previous threads on stones and suggestions etc and see what you think, and get back with the answers to the above, and any new questions.

I may not be the best for answering those questions but expect we will see some others chime in.

 

"love my country" but "fear my government"  Something is just wrong with this

 

 

 

Looking for info on entry level J-knives? Need help on finding the most bang for your buck? Hope you enjoy learning from the info here, I know I did!

http://www.cheftalk.com/t/63213/tojiro-dp-f-809-240mm-g...

Reply

 

"love my country" but "fear my government"  Something is just wrong with this

 

 

 

Looking for info on entry level J-knives? Need help on finding the most bang for your buck? Hope you enjoy learning from the info here, I know I did!

http://www.cheftalk.com/t/63213/tojiro-dp-f-809-240mm-g...

Reply
post #9 of 13

.


Edited by tweakz - 10/27/14 at 10:44am
post #10 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by tweakz View Post
 

 

I'm considering a Kyocera black ceramic knife. -Surprised no mention of that here.

 

That silence should speak volumes, but just in case non-verbal language is a issue for you:

http://www.kitchenknifeforums.com/showthread.php/8570-Have-any-one-ever-used-ceramic-knife-Super-Cool!?highlight=Kyocera+black+ceramic+knife

 

Rick

post #11 of 13
.
Edited by tweakz - 10/27/14 at 10:44am
post #12 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by tweakz View Post

Thank you Rick! -It was a very good read.

I knew they were brittle and had some geometry issues but not that they weren't nearly as sharp. Well what about Cutco? -j/k =P

Though ceramics have their issues when purchased at bargain prices (like the many knives from brand name cooking equipment companies etc) they too can be a value to those with limited expectations or experience. They do not IMHO compare with the j knives I own, but do cut reasonably well, stay sharp or sharp as they come OOTB, and the few I had picked up under $5 were in line with other cheap steel (Chinese) ones being sold under most pot pan and small appliance brand names but don't lose their edge immediately.

I have only used a Kyrocea once and it was ok but nothing to get excited about and also far from cheap.

 

"love my country" but "fear my government"  Something is just wrong with this

 

 

 

Looking for info on entry level J-knives? Need help on finding the most bang for your buck? Hope you enjoy learning from the info here, I know I did!

http://www.cheftalk.com/t/63213/tojiro-dp-f-809-240mm-g...

Reply

 

"love my country" but "fear my government"  Something is just wrong with this

 

 

 

Looking for info on entry level J-knives? Need help on finding the most bang for your buck? Hope you enjoy learning from the info here, I know I did!

http://www.cheftalk.com/t/63213/tojiro-dp-f-809-240mm-g...

Reply
post #13 of 13

I bought a $5 ceramic pairer, it won't peel potatoes worth a darn but I use it exclusively for digging eyes and blemishes from potatoes as it probably wouldn't protest if coming in contact with dirt and sand.  I have had it for years and for this task it has not required sharpening, perhaps never will.  One of these days I'll get around to procuring some fine CBN stropping compound and see what kind of edge it can take/hold.

 

Rick

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