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Victorinox-Forschner as starter knives

post #1 of 39
Thread Starter 

I've recommended them often enough, along with many around here, when the question is what low-cost bangforthebuck knife is recommended, so I really figured I ought to at least have one example to actually experience myself.  Besides it will make a great little gift for someone who's never known much better than a Ginsu.  Here is what $44'n change (my automatic bid beat the nearest bidder by $1) will get you shipped to your door from ebay:

 

Brand new 10" Victorinox Rosewood chef's knife

 

 

I played around quite a bit just to get this shot-quality, a little more with the next photo and got a better image, but this shows you pretty much what you get.  How I feel about this knife:

 

Handle

What appears to be stabilized Rosewood, and just a bit lighter in color than it looks here.  It's not the slender coffin-shape I prefer but I found it easy to adjust to.  I understand a lot of pro-kitchen folk like this sort of handle.  The NSF plastic handles that distinguish the Forschner from the Vic are about the same shape I believe, and it should be noted those can be had for half the price of the Vic Rosewood.

 

Profile

The belly has a slight curve to it, and though again I am not used to it, being partial to the flat Sabatier-like profile, it is a rather gentle curve and again as with the handle I found it took very little getting used.  It makes sense that you could expect this from a knife that sees so much pro-kitchen use.  10 1/16" (255.5 mm) x 2 1/16" (52.4mm) at the heel, pretty tall and just 2.4mm too much width to fit my knife block.

 

Edge Profile

Here I was pretty impressed.  Width of the blade over the heal is a mid-weight 2.44mm, and there is a straight distal taper running right to the tip where it is a not so thin 1.2mm.  You'd expect this though from a knife that typically sees rough use in pro environments.

 

What was impressive though is the thinness behind the edge.  For a knife that can be had for $40 it's pretty good to see an edge thickness that is just .010" for most of the blades length.  Grind is a V shape, and I was also impressed with the sharp this knife comes with.  Just as is from the plastic sleeve it was shipped it easily did 1mm and less onion and tomato slices.  Not surprisingly a paper test showed the edge to be a rather steep 15deg/side, as measured with my wedges.

 

Steel

The steel, "Victor Inox" in case you never noticed what the name actually stood for, I understand is the usual German stainless, X50CrMo or somesuchthing.  I am guessing by the sheen and the ring it gives off when struck that it is tempered to the same 58RC or so of the typical Wusthof/Henkles stuff. 

 

FF

 

So after fooling some more with lighting and fiddling the buttons on my camera a bit I finally caught this which can just barely be made out (click on the pic to enlarge for a better view).  The Exilim Pro is peerlesss in the price range for freezing motion and that is specifically why I chose it, but in terms of ordinary picture quality it pales a bit in comparison to a comparably priced Cannon or Nikon.

 

That distil taper I spoke of actually begins a good 1/2" behind the handle here, and you may want to consider filling it in with some epoxy, or superglue even, to prevent gunk collecting in there.  Otherwise everything was smooth, flush and polished to a nice sheen.  Though speaking of that sheen, maybe it was my imagination but it did seem to create some friction with the food at times.  But breaking it with a fine stone, or Bon Ami cleanser and the like, will take care of that.

 

To sum up

Finally having one in hand I can say with some confidence now that Victorinox/Forschner are a very good value for the budget minded looking for starter knives.  They may be a step down from Fujiwara and Tojiro, but they will please.

 

 

Rick


Edited by Rick Alan - 8/18/14 at 12:46pm
post #2 of 39

Thank you for the thoughtfulness and effort. The victorinox has been reviewed to death. It IS a GREAT value, but it is WAY WAY overrated. As big a crush I have on Bridget Lancaster, America's Test Kitchen might be a little less than impartial.

It's considered very cool to call them starter knives But I think there are much better starter knives. I'd consider these "house knives" and they are used as such in many kitchens. House knives are Knives owned by the kitchen for any person to use (usually the comis or the prep cooks) because they work for minimum wage and can't afford to buy their own knife. The house doesn't even care too much when they're stolen.
I believe these will rapidly be replaced by the new Wusthof pro line that is meant to fill the same niche and are much better quality and have better ergonomics.

OR it might be good to compare the Victorinox forged line to the stamped line. It even has better steel than even the Wusthof/Henkels brands. 50crmov15 doesn't mean too much if the blade is just stamped from sheet steel.


Edited by harrisonh - 8/19/14 at 2:02am
post #3 of 39
Thread Starter 

All that's certainly welcome input harrisonh.  I recall now the wusty pro-line has been mentioned recently.

 

Doing a search I see that the vic fibrox (plastic handle) is going for a premium these days at about $40 shipped, the wusty pro can be had for the same.

 

So you feel the grind on the pro is as good or better as compared to the vic?

 

 

 

Rick

post #4 of 39

Stamped knives can outperform forged knives. And vice versa. There's much more to what makes a good knife than stamping (more technically, blanking)/forging. That myth should be put to rest by now. 

Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #5 of 39
Thread Starter 

Well I wasn't so sure the forged vic was actually a forged "blade."  Neither Wusthof or Henckles make a truly forged blade, theirs are just stamped flat stock that is induction heated at the heel area and squooshed together a bit to form a bulge that can be fashioned into a full bolster, that no home-kitchen jockey should really want anyway, and most high-end knife using pros don't want either because of the sharpening hassles it creates.  But seeing as this post is about knives in a price range that essentially assumes a stamped blade and minimal finessing it's all rather irrelevant.

 

Just for those who have no knowledge here, shaping a blade by heating and pounding "always" produces an improvement in edge qualities and all around strength, but only given proper forging, and heat treatment also.  And forged knives, even if done well, don't of any necessity get the best ht, forging and ht both depend on what the maker is offering.  And of course the alloy makes a difference here.  I'd say a stamped blade of 52100 steel with good ht is simply going to outperform the best of what can be done with something like 1088 steel.

 

Then there are some of the more advanced steels using CPM (compressed powdered metal technology) that I believe only benefit little from the extra pounding.  Ones like 10V, S110V, REX121, and perhaps even HAP40 which is catching on lately.  For all of these proper ht is far more critical (read "also expensive").

 

 

Rick

post #6 of 39

CPM can achieve alloys forging can't for one thing. And many very good steels are often stamp blanked, the various Sandviks as a general example. 

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 #7 of 39

I  would heartily agree that there are some superb stamped blades and that the difference between stamped and forged does not mean what it used to because of advanced technology and because of really crummy forged blades that are meant to be sold in department stores and Walmart. I also agree that even what are called "forged blades aren't really truly forged. The point I was trying to stress is the GEOMETRY of the blade is
I wholeheartedly agree that "There's much more to what makes a good knife than stamping (more technically, blanking)/forging.". But that is NOT happening in the victorinox. Let's not cheat.

And Yes, I love the two CPM New West knives I have. Agrees that pounding isn't going to help CPM. I don't have any Swedish steel yet, but I have a friend that has a Minamoto, but think it was forged. Japanese style knive shapes and geometrie of single bevel,  are especially suited to a rolled steel. I would love to try a Sandvik steel knife whether stamped or forged. I wouldn't mind adding a new Yanagi style.
 Phatch, if you know of a good sandvik that is stamped, I would absoletly consider it for my arsenal and I'd appreciate any recommendations. I am NOT a "forged knife snob", that would be unwise. I own many stamped blades and agree there are many great stamped blades.

But to compare CPM and Sandvik while mentioning the victorinox might not be fair.


Edited by harrisonh - 8/19/14 at 5:12pm
post #8 of 39
The stamped Sandvik I've owned or handled was about 20 years ago. 12c27 was chosen for the project specifically because it stamped well. That pocket knife is long out of circulation now.
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 #9 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by harrisonh View Post
 

As big a crush I have on Bridget Lancaster, America's Test Kitchen . . .

  Yeah Bridget is like the new Gidget for foodies.  :crazy:

post #10 of 39
Thread Starter 

OK folks, back on topic.  So harrisonh, I'd like you to give a definitive here.  As far as the edge characteristics and edge profile I described for the Vic, is the Pro a match or better here?

 

 

Rick

post #11 of 39

you mean the actual cutting edge? In comparison between the victorinox and the wusthof pro. They are somewhat similar to each other with Wusthod CLAIMING (but not necessarily delivering) a sharper edge because of their laser guided process. In reality I just think those claims are marketing. The first time who ever is assigned to sharpen knives gets around to actually doing it, the difference  in sharpness between the two would be erased.

And as we said before, the wusty pro and the victor inox use the same steel. Wusty has a little better ergonomics for a long shift and has much better handle material for safety against slipping. It is also a bit easier on the hands for those who use a "baseball bat grip". BOTH are the same for a pinch grip.  When you squeeze, especially with a lot of force and torque, it gives ever so slightly. Less fatigue. If I can use a unrelated analogy, think of gripping a tennis racket with a fairway brand leather grip instead of the stock grip.

Again more analogies,think of the victor as a base model Honda. Reliable, great price.  Think of the wusty pro as the DX or LX model civic. Still cheap, still reliable, but just a very little nicer. And remember there are better Honda models that are either more luxurious or more utilitarian. I am in no way putting the Victorinox down. I use them all the time and I do recommend them. I just don't think they deserve the outrageous hyperbole they've been getting.

post #12 of 39

You know it's kind of funny.  My biggest gripe with Victorinox is that the handle comes into the blade at an angle annoying for sharpening the heel on a stone.  My biggest problems with wusthof were thickness and that fingerguard bolster.  It looks like this cheaper wusthof pro just traded problems.

post #13 of 39

stamped knives have no bolster. Are you talking about the molding of the handle itself?
If that's what you're talking about, you ight have a good point.
 As far as thickness. Again the ones we were comparing were stamped blades. Both wusty pro and victor are about the same 2mm or so

. If you're talking abuot the wusty LCB, Grand Prix 2, etc, it certainly IS a chefs personal choice as to whether there is or is not a bolster and what length and thicknesss it is. I would agree with you if that is the case.

post #14 of 39
Thread Starter 

Looking more closely at the Vic Fibrox and the Pro I see they both have the annoying bolster (as part of the handle), the Pro looks to have it worse though.  Both could use a dremeling with an abrasive wheel here.

 

As to the minor fatigue issue and handle texture, this would matter only little to the professional as harrisonh has described it, and not at all really to the relatively unhurried and light use of the home cook.

 

So the deciding factor for me would be thinness just behind the edge as this determines perceived sharpness and is beyond the equipment of the typical user here to do much about.

 

I know the Vic is very good in this latter respect (just 0.010" mostly) and harrisonh hasn't indicated any cutting difference in the Pro that he is aware of but, for accuracy's sake, anyone out there with a micrometer or decent vernier and access to a 10" Pro?  Because for myself I have all the $40 chef knives I need for right now.  ;-)~

 

 

Rick


Edited by Rick Alan - 8/21/14 at 5:42am
post #15 of 39
Thread Starter 
Quote:
  Originally Posted by harrisonh View Post
 

stamped knives have no bolster. Are you talking about the molding of the handle itself?

 

 

@harrisonh, look at the fifth comment, which I made in answer to phatch and where I cast doubt on there actually being a "forged" Vic.  Stamped knives can and some certainly do have contiguous same-steel bolsters.  Every Wusthof Classic, Henckles Four Star, etc, every one of these manufacturers knives that has a metal bolster is a knife stamped from flat stock, not forged from billet.  The blade itself is exactly the same as the Wusthof Pro, Vic Rosewood/Fibrox, etc, in that it is stamped from flat stock.  In the fifth comment I explain the process the 2 companies use to create the bolster.

 

In fact I believe that Robert Herder is the only German company still making a true forged blade (there are many better knives for the same price).  And in France I believe only Nogent offers such knives anymore, and those from forgings that were made prior to WWII and left in a warehouse for decades before being "revealed," so to say.  There is some speculation on whether they were actually just forgotten, or intentionally hidden in order to avoid being commandeered and turned into various articles for the war effort and not brought out for many decades due to the stigma that would be attached.  People buy them for the intangible value, as just about any modern carbon knife in the price range would have better edge properties.

 

 

Rick


Edited by Rick Alan - 8/21/14 at 5:37am
post #16 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by harrisonh View Post
 

stamped knives have no bolster.

As far as victorinox goes, true. But a bolster is often a scale addition, often of nickel silver in higher end  knives and not part of the blade/tang construction. Or a Weld on after the fact. I can show you many stamped knives with a bolster. 

 

You're thinking of stamped knives as stamped and edge ground and done. Higher grade knives are often stamped to exterior profile only, then shaped in stock removal processes. 

 

 

Stamped, VG10 San Mai, Bolster  $50 US. 

Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #17 of 39
Thread Starter 

$50?  8 incher?  Goodness!  And it's not curved like the blade of a hockey stick?  Doesn't crumble or fold its edge when it hits the board?

 

 

Rick

post #18 of 39

I've got one I use. I've given a few as gifts to friends who have only junk knives. It's a great blade, though shorter than I like. Fit and Finish is not as good as Henkels, Wusthof or most J-knives. But very high value for cost. I do have to sharpen them for my friends of course. And I think some Idahones are going to show up in my holiday gift giving this year to help keep these in better shape between my personal attention sessions.

Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #19 of 39
Thread Starter 

Having to do the sharpening almost goes without saying.  But Well!, so where do you get them for cry-eye!?

 

 

Rick

post #20 of 39
I think phatch has mentioned it before, that's the Ikea slitbar. Someone on kkf had bad luck with the grind on a bunch. In store it is packaged so you can't really look unless you ask an associate to open it for inspection.
Edited by MillionsKnives - 8/21/14 at 3:59pm
post #21 of 39
Thread Starter 

Oh OK, I recall thatnow, but mostly only the bad-rap part...  Ah things do sometimes just get better.  Like my camera.  I paid 1K for it 4 or 5 years ago, now you can get the improved version fur 2 bills.

 

 

Rick


Edited by Rick Alan - 8/21/14 at 6:04pm
post #22 of 39
I don't mind it needing some work out of the box for $50. It's not for me at all, but I can see it being good as a gateway gyuto or gift or project knife.

I don't have any friends, including chefs, that use carbon. They all think I'm a j knife fanatic for doing what I consider basic maintenance.
post #23 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by MillionsKnives View Post

I think phatch has mentioned it before, that's the Ikea slitbar. Someone on kkf had bad luck with the grind on a bunch. In store it is packaged so you can't really look unless you ask an associate to open it for inspection.

 

I think that was me. There was a distinct overgrind in all of the two knives I was allowed to inspect. And even the parts of the edge where there was no overgrind where bumpy as hell, so it would take considerable work to bring it up to par. It is also somewhat handle heavy. I do have the normal monosteel version and it didn't have that problem, maybe they changed migrant workers or whatever ... the normal version is pretty good too, btw, properly thin behind the edge, sharpens easily, burr is easy to remove, edge retention in a league with Wüsthof I'd say. A good beater knife.

post #24 of 39

So only the damascus version had this problem?  I'll definitely check these out next time I'm at Ikea.

post #25 of 39

Yes, it's Ikea. A diamond stone is something every one should have for basic clean up and reprofiling purposes. Makes such things pretty uneventful. 

Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #26 of 39
Somebody made a mention of the angle of blade to handle. Last year, or two years ago, VF had a line of "Anniversary" knives. I made the mistake of buying one of these because it was "on sale". The blade/handle angle was different for the anniversary from the regular. They were both the same quality knives, just with that little difference. I much prefer the standard knife's flatter angle. On another idea, I think I've found that, as "house knives", VF's are the lightest weight of the usual suspects. I could be wrong, of course. I'm sure someone will let me know.
post #27 of 39
Thread Starter 

Took a dremel and 1/2" sanding drum to the handle.  Now I know it is not "stabilized" but natural Rosewood.  Just 10min to a perfect fit.  I'll finish sand and epoxy-coat the whole thing.

 

 

Middle finger now sits where it should, and the material removed from the side...

 

 

 

...now allows the thumb to sit partially aside the handle, instead of being forced awkwardly way out in front and pulling the index finger out with it.  Though I think Benuser for one actually prefers that.

 

 

 

Rick

post #28 of 39

Just FYI, rosewood dust is one to avoid. Hope you wore a mask. 

 

http://www.wood-database.com/wood-articles/wood-allergies-and-toxicity/

Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #29 of 39
Thread Starter 

Good for everyone to know.   I didn't bother with a mask as relatively little material was removed, I tend to hold my breath when sanding, I don't sand things very often and I figured the relatively heavy particles (for a wood) would settle quickly.  Well this is how I rationalize not bothering to dawn a mask anyway.  No reactions though.

 

I'm the only one in my whole family of blood relatives that ever had allergies and food sensitivities, and I eventually grew out of them just about completely.  My father was so impervious to such things that 30 years after the fact of spending 12 years working in a machine shop where they put out magnesium fires with asbestos dust, an examination revealed no sign of ever even being exposed.  Nothing like having superstar white blood cells on your side.

 

But you're right of course, best not to be cavalier about such things.

 

 

Rick

post #30 of 39
I work in a kitchen with all kinds of knives, we have between us Shun's, Victorinox, way expensive Japanese knives I dont know the names of, old Chicago Cutlery, etc. a good cross section of stuff. I use the Victorinox it does need to be put on the steel a few times a day but I dont mind. They all have their pluses and minuses but they all perform fine because we keep them extremely sharp. I can do equal work with an old Chicago knife as a $500 Japanese blade. Knowing how to sharpen them is more important to me for the most part. I dislike blade shapes more than anything else if I dont like a knife. Santokus no for me, or a poorly shaped chef knife.
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