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Wedding Registry Knife Set

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

My fiance and I are starting to go through our wedding registry and the topic of a nice knife set has come up. We have a mixed bag of pretty decent individual knives, but are looking for a quality set to leave on the counter that performs well. We are just recreational kitchen dwellers, but are definitely on the more intense side of that spectrum. 

 

Being that it is a wedding registry (at either Crate and Barrel, Williams Sonoma & Macy's) the choices seem to be limited as far as brands & sets go. We were also weighing the option of getting a smaller set like 5-7 piece set (which usually consist of 3-5 knives) so that we can save our guests some money, but then have the ability to supplement the set with individual extra knives that wouldn't be included in a set with a higher number of pieces. Here's a few sets we looked at or plan to look at - please give input if you can:

 

- Shun Premier 6-Piece Cutlery Set - http://www1.macys.com/shop/product/shun-premier-6-piece-cutlery-set?ID=1528536&CategoryID=31760&LinkType=#fn=BRAND%3DShun%26sp%3D1%26spc%3D7%26ruleId%3D%26slotId%3D6

 

- Shun® Classic 8-Piece Knife Sethttp://www.crateandbarrel.com/sale/all-free-shipping/shun-classic-8-piece-knife-set/s224921

 

(The Shuns obviously caught our eyes, and felt amazing in our hands compared to others, but we have no personal performance experience. We have been researching them the most, but are getting conflicting reviews. The price is also noticeably higher than the other sets.)

 

- Zwilling J.A. Henckels Miyabi Kaizen 7 Piece Cutlery Sethttp://www1.macys.com/shop/product/zwilling-ja-henckels-miyabi-kaizen-7-piece-cutlery-set?ID=1096657&CategoryID=31760&LinkType=#fn=PAGEINDEX%3D5%26sp%3D5%26spc%3D245%26ruleId%3D%26slotId%3D199

 

- Wüsthof® Classic Ikon 7-Piece Acacia Knife Block Set - http://www.crateandbarrel.com/sale/all-free-shipping/wüsthof-classic-ikon-7-piece-acacia-knife-block-set/s118896

 

(I prefer to stay away from the Wusthof's we have encountered. We have a Wusthof Santuko that I rarely use because using a pinch type grip produces a blister if I use it for more than 15 minutes. The ones I've looked at in the stores feel the same way so it seems that the handles just don't match my hand. I would need to be strongly convinced to seriously consider the Wusthofs unless there is a nice set I'm overlooking)

 

Any input we could get would be great.

 

-Dan

post #2 of 13

A set is just an undersized chefs knife, a paring knife, and a whole lot of junk to drive up the price.  Maybe you can find a place to register a 9" Miyabi Birchwood chefs knife.

post #3 of 13

Before any recommendations can be made, one question needs to be answered -

 

Will both of you be cooking together in the kitchen?

 

That is really the critical question for any recommendations.  If it's to only be one person, then the number of knives becomes simpler and more directed to that particular person's preferences.  If both of you are going to be cooking together, then the response will need to differ significantly.

 

I looked at your posted items - and none look particularly appealing.  I saw a lot of Shuns and Damascus blades.  I am not a fan of Shun.  I tend to think of them as having a blade profile which out-bellies the very pronounced German knife bellies.  As for Damascus, I have been a non-fan for a long time.  

 

Since this is to be listed on a gift registry, you cite Macy's, Williams Sonoma and Crate and Barrell.  Are there any other companies which we can delve into, such as Sur la Table?  What about on-line sources, such as Amazon?

 

Are you totally intent on getting a set?  Most of the sets I have seen (and the ones you list) come with a knife block, which is about as much a space hog on any kitchen counter as anything else.  Also, MilliionsKnives's criticism above is spot on.

 

You are having problems with a pinch grip, by developing a blister within 15 minutes of using the pinch grip.  Is this along the spine of the knife, or along the choil (the end of the blade)?  If so, feel along the area which is causing the problem.  If there is a definitive 90 degree edge, then that area needs to be relieved.  You don't really have to do much.  Just take some ultra-fine sandpaper, wrap it around something round (like a dowel or pen or pencil) and sand the edge just enough to eliminate the sharpness.  All you want to do is break that edge - you don't need to significantly round the edge (though it would be nice to do so).  Relieve the edges of both sides of the choil and of both sides of the spine (to a distance of about 1 to 2 inches forward of the choil), and your blistering problem should go away.

 

 

Galley Swiller

post #4 of 13

Wusthof has a variety of lines of different quality.  The cheaper end may not have the spines rounded.  You could do it as Gally Swiller suggested with sandpaper.

post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 

Quote:

 

Originally Posted by MillionsKnives View Post
 

A set is just an undersized chefs knife, a paring knife, and a whole lot of junk to drive up the price.  Maybe you can find a place to register a 9" Miyabi Birchwood chefs knife.

 

We realized that this might be the situation and that's why I mentioned getting a set that has the minimal number of pieces so we can fill the set in down the road with individual knives that we prefer. The knife you suggested appears to be available at Sur La Table... (I wrote more below)

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Galley Swiller View Post
 

Before any recommendations can be made, one question needs to be answered -

 

Will both of you be cooking together in the kitchen?

 

That is really the critical question for any recommendations.  If it's to only be one person, then the number of knives becomes simpler and more directed to that particular person's preferences.  If both of you are going to be cooking together, then the response will need to differ significantly.

 

I looked at your posted items - and none look particularly appealing.  I saw a lot of Shuns and Damascus blades.  I am not a fan of Shun.  I tend to think of them as having a blade profile which out-bellies the very pronounced German knife bellies.  As for Damascus, I have been a non-fan for a long time.  

 

Since this is to be listed on a gift registry, you cite Macy's, Williams Sonoma and Crate and Barrell.  Are there any other companies which we can delve into, such as Sur la Table?  What about on-line sources, such as Amazon?

 

Are you totally intent on getting a set?  Most of the sets I have seen (and the ones you list) come with a knife block, which is about as much a space hog on any kitchen counter as anything else.  Also, MilliionsKnives's criticism above is spot on.

 

You are having problems with a pinch grip, by developing a blister within 15 minutes of using the pinch grip.  Is this along the spine of the knife, or along the choil (the end of the blade)?  If so, feel along the area which is causing the problem.  If there is a definitive 90 degree edge, then that area needs to be relieved.  You don't really have to do much.  Just take some ultra-fine sandpaper, wrap it around something round (like a dowel or pen or pencil) and sand the edge just enough to eliminate the sharpness.  All you want to do is break that edge - you don't need to significantly round the edge (though it would be nice to do so).  Relieve the edges of both sides of the choil and of both sides of the spine (to a distance of about 1 to 2 inches forward of the choil), and your blistering problem should go away.

 

 

Galley Swiller

 

Both will be cooking at times, but in the event we are battling for knife use, we have plenty of other serviceable knives in our repertoire. 

 

Unfortunately being that it is a registry and the choices are limited, we may be able to add an additional store to the list. There is a Sur La Table nearby and if you can specify some suggestions I could visit the store this weekend to check it out. I looked and saw that the knife @MillionsKnives suggested was available at that store. If the stores I listed really have nothing that we should even consider, any other well known stores could be looked into if it would be worth it. 

 

I don't necessarily require a knife set, but my fiance is convinced we need one. So at this point I'm going to proceed in that direction until something changes haha.

 

That is a great tip about the 90 degree edge. As soon as I picked up the knife after reading this, I could see that was the issue. I never thought of modifying the knife, I just prevented the dicomfort, but not using it too often.

post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 

I've been looking on the Sur La Table website and the Miyabi birchwood look great. I need to get one in my hand to see how it feels. 

 

Any idea about the Artisan SG2 Evolution or Kaizen? Just curious, what's up with the Miyabi tag on the Macy's set I had in my original post? They look very similar to the Kaizen set. Any info on these?

 

Original Post:

 

- Zwilling J.A. Henckels Miyabi Kaizen 7 Piece Cutlery Set - http://www1.macys.com/shop/product/zwilling-ja-henckels-miyabi-kaizen-7-piece-cutlery-set?ID=1096657&CategoryID=31760&LinkType=#fn=PAGEINDEX%3D5%26sp%3D5%26spc%3D245%26ruleId%3D%26slotId%3D199

post #7 of 13

As someone shopping these types of retailers, you're going to be inundated with nonsense marketing.  In store salespeople are even worse. I'll share with you my criteria for knife selection: 

 

These matter:

  • Geometry - How thin is it?  How thin behind the edge? Is it fat at the spine and tapers to thin behind the edge?  Does it taper from spine to tip?
  • Profile - Is it mostly flat,  german with lots of belly for rock chop, or in between like a french knife
  • Steel properties - what's the composition? Carbon? Stainless? Will it rust?  What's the heat treatment/tempering?  Will it hold an acute edge? edge retention?
  • Maintainence - Is it easy to sharpen? How asymmetric is the edge? Will it need to be thinned much? Does the cladding get in the way? Is the cladding going to get scratched up and will you need to polish it? Sure, that Damascus looks cool now, wait until you thin it and want to restore it's looks.

 

These don't matter, at all really

  • full tang
  • forged vs stock removal vs stamped
  • 128 bit encryption layer damascus marketing blah blah
  • ice quenching blah blah
  • matching sets
  • balance - some people think the knife needs to balance between the handle and blade.  I have no idea where this myth comes from.  If you use a pinch grip it doesn't matter, and actually I prefer blade heavy knives.  It makes cutting a bit easier.

 

Don't let their sales tactics make you a sucker. 

 

I won't even mention my preferences, since they are totally different than what you're looking at.

post #8 of 13
Great read, MillionsKnives! One additional remark, if you don't mind. Balance may matter. Only if people are rock-choppers they may like handle-heavy Germans, otherwise they are, er, how to put this, counterproductive. For slicing pinch-grippers a neutral or blade-heavy balance is better, I prefer the last. With you I find it rather helpful with somewhat heavier blades.
post #9 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by MillionsKnives View Post


I won't even mention my preferences, since they are totally different than what you're looking at.

I'm curious to know what your preferences are MK ?

Petals
Réalisé avec un soupçon d'amour.

Served Up
(165 photos)
Wine and Cheese
(62 photos)
 
Reply

Petals
Réalisé avec un soupçon d'amour.

Served Up
(165 photos)
Wine and Cheese
(62 photos)
 
Reply
post #10 of 13

@petalsandcoco I wanted to avoid thread derailment, but since you asked...

 

I've tried a lot of knives with different claddings, different geometry, different steels. Stainless cladding is not that fun to thin.  Kurouchi has that kasumi part that needs to be restored to a haze.  Damascus (not pattern, the non stainless kind) just looks bad when scratched, then there's the question of bringing it back and etching.  Too much work for me.  Your average user won't care about any of this.

 

Right now, I like more asymmetric monosteel or carbon clad wa handled carbons.  I don't want them too thin, but thin where it counts behind the edge ( I have a laser around for onions though).  This means it is absolutely essential to thin as I sharpen.  On a knife that's thinner throughout, maybe they get away without thinning longer.  Other than gyuto and petty, I have more task specific knives for butchery.  You're not getting a honesuki in a set.

 

Nothing I mentioned would ever be sold at these type of high end kitchen stores.  The majority of people wouldn't use or maintain them properly, but they're great for me (I put a lot of thought into shopping after all)

 

Basically I look for knives that perform well and are sharpened easily, and not too much upkeep with the cladding.  These makers like Shun, Miyabi, etc have different priorities than me: out of the box edge, looks, fit and finish.  They have to make back that marketing budget somehow right?

 

You can make an analogy to farming.  Say you're growing tomatoes, do you grow the most and biggest tomatoes you can, that look good on shelves, and ship well? Or do you aim for the smaller ones, heirloom, with the best flavor, but don't ship well?  It's a different game altogether.

post #11 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by MillionsKnives View Post
 

Wusthof has a variety of lines of different quality.  The cheaper end may not have the spines rounded.  You could do it as Gally Swiller suggested with sandpaper.

Some Wusties may have their edges relieved.  However, several things about Wusties makes me not recommend them:

 

(1) Their very pronounced bellies.  Yes, that's a personal preference.  I prefer a flatter, more "French" profile.

 

(2) Steel quality.  Even the best steel that Wusties use ("X50CrMoV15", more accurately known as "Krupp 4116") is a steel that BDL described at "crap steel".  And Wusties using 4116 steel are probably better heat treated to hRc 58 than most European knife makers who use that steel.

 

MillionsKnives comments as modified by Benuser would be my feelings as well.

 

You asked about Miyabi.  That's a wholly owned subsidary of Zwilling Henckels in Japan and the knives they make are really Japanese knives, rather than some form of Zwillings.  Better Fit & Finish, better steels, better quality than anything from Germany.  Mind you, they are also different design parameters as well.

 

For the individual knives and knife series made by Miyabi, it's the core steel which does the real work of cutting, and we need to look at the steels used.  Both the Artisan SG2's and the Kaizen's (which use a VG-10 core) are steel knives with lots of Damascus and (in the case with the Artisan SG2's) with hammering texturings - none of which will do much for performance.  As for the core steels of SG2 and VG-10, both steels seem to be all over the map when it comes to generic quality in the Japanese cutlery industry.  Depending upon the manufacturer, the Heat Treatment can either produce an excellent knife, or it can produce a dud.  As for Miyabi's - I'm not finding all that much involving either steel in Googled Forum feedback.

 

As for the bride wanting a set - this is probably not the right forum to get support for that position.  Let's face it - knife block sets are made to a price - and there's so much dross in these knife block sets (just to make it look like there's value), that the value of each knife suffers.  So the recommendation I have for your bride is to accept individual knife recommendations, and to put them up on a magnetic strip (and do you want to really waste precious counter space for someone else's advertising?).

 

Here, I'm going to toss in a ringer - take a look at Sur la Table at the Miyabi Evolution 10 inch chef's knife.  Mind you, it's not a direct recommendation.  And it does seem to be a bit of a tall blade (at least in the photo).  And it is a "Mystery Metal" core.  And it does appear to be a clad steel blade (though thankfully, not a Damascus blade).  Frankly, though, I am curious about it.  And it is something which comes from a chain store which offers a registry.

 

Okay, let the bean ball tossing at the suggestion begin!

 

 

Galley Swiller

post #12 of 13
Thread Starter 

Thank you everyone for the info.

 

In reality, my fiance wants a knives that perform equally as well as they look on the counter.

 

I on the other hand, wouldn't mind a block on the counter, but I primarily just want something that is going to perform and also be comfortable to use for long periods of time. I don't really care about the finish of the steel (even thought it may seem like it by some of the options I have provided). I'm more concerned with durability. I have seen a couple of videos (that I can't find right now to post) of Shuns where the blade appears to be easily bent by just applying minimal lateral pressure with the thumbs. I would imagine that this is not a good trait of a chef's or utility knife. 

 

Being that at this moment a knife set will be on the registry, I'm wondering if a good strategy would be to get a less than the highest end serviceable / durable set on the registry and then plan to just use a little money from the wedding on a couple of supplemental high quality knives. I have never owned a Japanese knife and regardless of the result of the registry, I will have one either due to a wedding gift or due to me buying one with some money from the wedding.

 

I'm going to go on a knife crusade this weekend and will report back afterwards... and then to my fiance haha

 

Thanks for the help so far!

post #13 of 13
Thread Starter 

It's been a while since my last post and after a few visits to the stores listed earlier in the thread and lots of discussions, we have decided to go with a 6 piece Shun Classic knife set from Williams-Sonoma:

 

6-Piece Set includes:

  • 3 1/2” paring knife.
  • 6” serrated utility knife.
  • 8” hollow-ground chef’s knife.
  • Kitchen shears.
  • 9” honing steel.
  • 11-slot storage block.

 

I took a trip to Sur La Table and unlike any of the other stores, they took out potatoes and lemons and let the customer (me) try out all of the knives in the display. I had narrowed it down between the Shun Classic, Miyabi Evolution, Miyabi Kaizen and Wusthof Epicure. (So basically it wasn't narrowed down too precisely.) I returned a few days later with my fiance to see what her thoughts were being that she would also be using the knives regularly. After the same potato test run of all of the knives, she had narrowed it down to the Shun Classic and the Miyabi Kaizen, but favored the Shuns. I on the other hand had rated the Shun Classic as my 4th favorite of my 4 choices on my first visit, but the second time I went back, I really liked the feel of the Shuns and preferred them over the others. I also realized that where I thought the current knives we have are decent, the Shuns blow them away.

 

I know this knife selection will pain some of you, but being that the choices as part of a registry of our selected stores were limited and the fact that we are registered for lots of other big money items, the Shuns seemed to be the best option in that price range.

 

Thank you for the help on here prior to my selection. I definitely had more information on knife geometry and characteristics that I wouldn't have paid much attention to had I not started this thread.

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