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Metal Knives

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 

I keep kosher and I'm beginning a course in Commercial Cookery.


As the food will not be kosher I need knives which can be koshered. 

I.e. fully metal knives (no wood etc.).


Any suggestions for a good knife?

post #2 of 27

Why not just get a separate knife set?

post #3 of 27

Hi chonye.  Welcome to ChefTalk!


Besides your keeping Kosher and beginning a course in Commercial Cookery, can you tell us a bit more about yourself?  Threads like this work best as a dialogue, not just a one shot posting.


Knife availability is to a large degree determined by the country an individual lives in.  It's no good for us "regulars" on this forum to wax poetically about some favorite knife, if you, the Original Poster ("the OP") live in a country where our favored knives are unavailable.  So, it would really help us if you can tell us which country you live in.


Are you looking for having separate sets of knives for meat, dairy and parve (neither meat nor dairy, such as fruits and vegetables)?  In the Commercial Cookery course, does the school or the instructor have a list of cutlery you need to bring to class?


How do you intend to sharpen the knives and maintain sharpness?  Are you experienced with sharpening knives yourself?  That's a really important issue, because using knives dulls them, no matter what some slick sales people may say otherwise.  


An example of why personally sharpening your own knife is important in this dialogue is where one metal-handled knife I can think of that's good is a knife made from a somewhat tempermental steel, sharpening-wise.  I can recommend it to someone who is willing to sharpen and maintain the sharpness personally, but I think the knife would be a disaster to have sharpened by the usual incompetent commercial sharpener.


Do you want to have separate sharpening set-ups for meat, dairy and parve knives?


What sort of budget can you afford?  Prices can range from about $100 (U.S.) on upwards.  That's per chef's knife.  And since you are a student, my reaction is that you are like many students - not exactly rolling in money, but instead having to watch your budget VERY carefully.


I hope to hear back from you.



Galley Swiller

post #4 of 27

also if you really want to try one set for everything with no handles this might interest you

post #5 of 27

Hmmmmm - a Kickstarter campaign.


First, I'm not sure the knife will be all that comfortable.  Something which is primarily a field knife is going to be not all that comfortable to handle - even with a pinch grip.  By my recollection, knives like this are usually wrapped at the handle with parachute cord.  Even so...


For the regular knives in this series, Sandvik 12C27 is specified.  A quick Google search suggests this is a popular knife in Sweden for outdoor "field" knives.  It's comparable to 440A steel, which is similar to AUS-6 steel, if memory again holds.  The Chef's knife is $115 (if they get enough money in the Kickstarter campaign) with a cutting board.  If you want the thrdee knife set (paring, bread & chef knives), it's $249.


The Carter version is better steel (SUS 410 core steel for the edge)- but, again, there is the thin handle.  Price there is $265 for that one knife.


What makes me not particularly impressed is the working length of the chef's knife blade - 6.25 inch edge (159 mm).  That's just too short.


In any event, for the Chef's knife, I might have suggested a Tojiro PRO DP 240mm gyuto, available through eBay to the USA for under $87 (including shipping).  Metal handle, acceptable length, VG-10 core steel, and Tojiro is probably as good as anyone in getting the heat treatment right.  Mind you, sharpening VG-10 steel means any bead developed needs to be carefully abraded down.  But it's better than 440A steel by far.


Round that out with a Victorinox fibrox handle paring knife and a Victorinox fibrox handle serrated bread knife - and you are easily spending under $150.



Galley Swiller

post #6 of 27

Tojiro makes all metal knives as does Global and several other makers in Japan.  

post #7 of 27
Thread Starter 
I live in Australia and I'm 17 years old.

For now, I'm planning to get one knife set for the course and when I start working in a kosher kitchen, kosher these knives. If I'm in a situation that I need more than one set, I will get then.

I am under the impression that one doesn't need separate sharpeners but that's not an informed statement.

I'd like to invest in a good set of knives that will serve me for a good long time. I'm willing to spend several hundred if it will be a worthy investment.

With regards to sharpening, I don't know how to but the course will teach me that stuff.
May I mention that this is William Angliss - the best in Australia and recommended by local Jewish chefs.

Another option I am considering is to get a furi knife-which seems not to be amazing- for $50 Australian and then upgrade to a better knife when I'm finished the course; which won't need to be all metal.
post #8 of 27

There was a post a while ago about sharpening and keeping Kosher an it was in fact acceptable to sharpen all knives on just one set of stones, provide they were wetted as for unmentioned reasons in the article sited the temperature needed to remain below 120F.


Speaking as a fellow Heb I have to say that the Spirit of the Law should take precedence over the letter of the Law, as one very famous luntsman once pointed out.  In actuality if we were to follow strictly the letter of the Law then it would be quite impossible to remain Kosher under any practical circumstances as cross contamination occurs through airborn transfer whether we like it or not.




post #9 of 27

A few notes here


Globals probably would not be on any preferred list I might develop.  Their steel is Cromova 18 and is hardened to about hRc 58.  More respectable performance than European mass-made knives, but not as good as even Tojiro's san-mai knives of ther various DP lines.  


The real question mark about Globals is their handle shape.  You either love or hate them.  And when you hate them, it's because you've developed something akin to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.  Not good.


As for Furi knives, I would stay away from them, especially concerning the heavy bolster.  That bolster will complicate the sharpening of the edge big time.  No good.  Victorinox Fibrox handled would be better and very possibly cheaper.  The blade is made from a better quality steel ("X50CrMoV15" - aka "4116" steel) and there's an unimpeded length along the edge from the tip to the heel of the blade.


If this knife is just to be for the culinary class and not for long term use, then I would suggest getting something as basic as an all-Victorinox Fibrox handle trio of 250mm (10 inch) Chef's knife, a 250 mm (10 inch) serrated edge bread knife and a paring knife (match the length of the blade as close as possible to the length of your index finger).  Minimal cost, best available use of funding.  I'm presuming that the ban  on wood handles is so that the knives can be tossed into a dishwasher at the school.


In that case, after you finish the school, then yiu can treat yourself to a better knife.


I would also try to find a reasonably good ceramic honing rod.  Look on eBay Australia.  Idahone fine rods can be bought there.  Don't get anything shorter than the 12 incher.  It will cost you under $65 Australian, including shipping, but will be the best investment in quick edge maintenance you will spend.


For sharpening on stones, get several water stones in the basic ranges of 500, 1,000 and 3000 to 5000 grit.  Make sure when you buy them that the minimum surface size is 200mm long by 50mm wide.  Longer or wider is even better.  A flattening stone with a diamond surface will help you level the surfaces of the sharpening stones.  Just be sure the flattening plate is about the same size (or a bit bigger) than your stones.  And don't be tempted to use the plate for sharpening - you will only knock the diamonds out of the plate and make it much less effective in flattening.


For a set of YouTube tutorials on sharpening, watch the following by Jon Broida of Japanese Knife Imports of Los Angeles:


For a quick general read on knives, read this from Chad Ward:


Hope that helps



Galley Swiller

post #10 of 27

Globals that other people have mentioned are very good, I've got many and think highly of them, BUT have plastic resin in them and they have lots of "nooks" It probably wouldn't  pass kosher. I do happen to like the style, but it is a bit weird. but the others I'm gonna mention are also in the same boat. Weird handle because it has to be kosher. These are also very unforgiving. Steel does not "give" like a nice cushy santoprene or even reguar handle materials like POM or Micarta.

Chroma Cnives (spelled just that way) have a model called the 301 designed by Porsche. They were the winner in numerous quality awards and are used by several teams at the the Bocuse D'Or including several medalists. I can personally attest to the quality of Chroma 301, and I use them sometimes as my demo knives. Good enough to be used by a medalist in the best competition in the entire world, then they are good enough for me.

Tojiro has a superb model called the origami, but they are really hard to get. I've only used one once. I'd buy several if they shipped them to my area, but they don't. You might be able to get them in your area.

Schmidt brothers has a very inexpensive, but very good line called "carbon". They are a bargain. Dirt cheap, but good steel. 50XMoV15, aka Krupps 4116, The same as in Wusthof and Henkels pro lines. These also look very distinctive. One note, whether positive or negative. they have a VERY pronounced bolster. They consider it a positive in that it gives very good control and safety. The downside is that if you are really sharpening your knives, on an almost daily basis (not just honing them), the bolster can eventually wear down to the point where it might interfere after a few years.
The answer is that a good knife sharpener can thin it for cheap or the Schmidt brothers are SO inexpensive that you can just donate it t goodwill and buy another. They really are a bargain!cutlery-carbon-6-knives/c1c51

None of these three have NSF certification, but all three brands are so well recognized that you'll have no trouble with health inspectors.

Unlike some of the other people posting, whim I do admire, I don't look down on Krups 4116. I've got dozens of Blues, super blue's, VG10's, and CPM's. Yes, they ARE superior, but they are also priced accordingly. 4116 is perfectly reasonable, and I use it all the time.

The Victorinox mentioned by others is 4116. They are knives' used by the "house" (the company has extra knives just on hand for comis and in case of emergency) in my area. If you brought in a victoinox, they'd assume you have never worked in a real kitchen, OR you have worked in a kitchen, but you steal the house knives. They ARE good knives, but they are for people who watch too much America's Test Kitchen. You probably would not get your interview or your stage if you showed up with victorinox
 At the same price point, Wusthof Pro, and Mercer Millenia would be better choices. But these are really bottom of the line knives.

Furi knives you were looking at and that others have mentioned are 4116. I do NOT like Furi knives but it just might be a regional thing. Every body here associates them with fake celebrity cooks (Rachael and Guy). If you're in a kitchen in Arizona, you'd literally get laughed out of the kitchen if you brought in a Furi. But on the positive side, no one would steal them!!!!!

Like the furi, victorinox, and the other cheap knives, you will be sharpening , not just honing, and you'll be doing it  OFTEN. But they are so cheap that you can just replace them, no big deal.
BUT the victorinox and the Furi have PLASTIC handles, NOT metal handles. If handle material didn't matter, then this whole tread was pointless. I also can't imagine someone using a school knife kit, downgrading to furi or victorinox. Isn't the idea to move UP to a working professional level?

Some kosher kitchens in my area don't allow wood, but they do other materials like santoprene. Wusthof makes the Grand Prix2 line that many Jewish cooks I know use. I'd never thought to ask them. I just assumed they were using them because they are easy on the hands.
But even though they're personally Jewish, this is in mainstream kitchens, so you'd have to ask your chef or kitchen manager. Unfortunately I've never been in a real kosher kitchen yet, but I'd love to visit.
 Mercer makes a totally cheap, but good quality line in both western and Asian styles with santoprene. Their Genesis line bears a remarkable resemblance to Wusthof's Grand Prix 2. Most people in culinary school that I know use Mercer Genesis or Mercer Rennaisance.  They ARE NSF certified, but they are so ubitiquous, you'd have no problem. And in 30 years, I've never had a county person ask to look at my handles.

I do have Jewish cook/chef friends, but don't have any friends in kosher kitchens so I don't know if you'll need 2 complete sets of stones.

I'll try to think of a few more. for you

Edited by harrisonh - 7/17/15 at 5:08pm
post #11 of 27
I don't have a recommendation to contribute, but for those wondering about the constraints for what knives can be koshered, it would seem they need to be both free of uninspectable crevices as well as being able to stand up to boiling water, hence wood being trickier.
post #12 of 27

gladius, I checked with a friend, that was HIS understanding too. MOST of the  hard handles plactic  and santoprene would seem to fit into that category.
I don't think he needs "all steel",
And thanks for providing the link. I learned something.
I don't think the global someone mentioned would work, too many nooks and crannies and it's filled with sand.
still vote thumbs down on Furi

Edited by harrisonh - 7/19/15 at 11:37am
post #13 of 27
I'm very cautious in this matter, as I'm too ignorant about all kind of requirements within kashrut. Far from me to tell people how to observe their own rules. However, I've noticed observant Jews use all kind of knives, and little errors within the kosher kitchen can be easily repaired. Wooden scales seem to be a problem indeed, POM or pakka not. Globals seem to be quite popular, I must say, have sharpened quite a few -- and have carefully observed sjabbes hours if I was asked so.
What seems to be a real challenge is to make acceptable a blade used in a non-kosher kitchen, especially when forbidden hot meat has been involved. Then a torch or so gets involved. Bad idea. To the OP: buy a decent Japanese chef's knife for your course, and sell it afterwards. You won't loose much, about the shipping and 20% of what you've paid, if you maintained it correctly on stones.
post #14 of 27

I imagine a resin-type handle is going to be more practical than an all-metal one.  The only decent all-metal ones I can think of off the top of my head are the Globals.  They're okay but not spectacular IMO. Edge retention is far-to-middling and they're a PITA to sharpen.


If you're a student and don't want to blow a lot of money maybe a Forchner Fibrox would be a good option.  They're not amazing knives by any means but they are NSF cert'd and the handles are a tough poly that can be boiled.  Edge retention is mediocre but there are hundreds of thousands of these in restaurants around the world.  They work well enough.

"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
"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
post #15 of 27

if they are a student, they're already using a better quality knife than a fierox. But yes, hard plastic is probably much more practical if you're going to boil, but so are many others of this low end including Mercer Millenia, Wusthof Pro (better quality than fiberox) and  Sani-safe (about the same quality as fiberox).
And, if he brings a fiberox in a non-kosher kitchen, he'll be laughed out of the building

I posted two superb and one pretty darn  good quality ALL STEEL knives.
Globals are "one piece design", but they are filled with sand and have too many nooks and crannies and the handles have plastic. They are NOT all steel. Although most chefs I know allow Global in the kitchen, I've heard that some will not because it violates their HAACP plan.

But I think we ALL agree do NOT get a Furi

Edited by harrisonh - 7/19/15 at 2:39pm
post #16 of 27
Pretty sure Mercer knives are generally made from X45CrMov15 and have far worse edge properties than Victorinox/Forschner Fibrox and Rosewood. I haven't worked in a professional kitchen, but my understanding is that Forschners are higher end than the vast majority of other knives used in restaurants at least here in the States, and I've never heard of someone being laughed at for using one. That said, I personally wouldn't want to learn on a German profile like the Forschner chef's knife.
post #17 of 27

X50 for the renaissance and genesis lines. I know I've got dozens of them.
They use a VG10 core for the MX3 line, and use AUS 8 for most of the Millennia line. but for individual models it might vary, for instance their flexible boning knife is different. I'm at work, so I can't go out to the car and check my traveling roll. I THINK it's 30X for the millennia flexible boning. But again, all knife makers might make one model different than most of the line for specific reasons/properties. The basic Genesis and Rennaisance lines are 50X (and that is still pretty low carbon) Most of my knives have double that amount, or more

 And genesis and renaissance  actually have structural elements to them, unlike the fiberox and rosewood stamped lines. I do NOT think that forged are always better, but the victorinox forged and so high above their stamped lines. Fiberox is latterly just a plastic handle on flat steel, Only 10 total manufacturing processes.
And how would you know they have "far worse edge performance than Victorinox". Those of us that have used both side by side know differently.

There is a real reason why genesis and renaissance are chosen by almost all culinary schools. They're cheap, reliable, safe, and very competent. Same with messermeister which are often used.
He already has a better quality set of knives, why would anyone want to go DOWN in quality? I probably wouldn't want to boil the POM handle of a renaissance, if that's what his school furnished, but if he has the genesis. And let's not forget Wusthof pro, too. Cheap and good, and far superior to fiberox in construction, ergonomics
Please don't think I'm pushing Mercer. I like them a lot, but IF I was to push any  one brand, Tojiro, that "Gallery Swiller" mentioned, is my absolute favorite for all around vaule. My every day knives are Tojiro Senkuo series.

No the forschners are NOT a better quality than the other victorinox or the ones we are using in a kitchen. The NAME Forschner is being faded out by Victorinox because of the elen' of the luggage, cosmetics and clothing lines.
Wenger is better quality "pretty sister" to the victorinox. Slightly better product. They are currently the SAME company, but Wenger will probably be phased out soon too and for the same reason.
There is nothing wrong with fiberox, but there are far better knives at the same price point than fiberox and the forged line is SO superior.
And the forged line does not need to be "hacked".
Most people that own a fiberox use a dremmel to make them more ergonomic. That's one aspect of them that's both positive AND negative. You shouldn't have to dremmel a product to make it work properly, but if you're doing it anyways, may as well really do it right

But this is off track of the original post which is about all metal knives, or at least those that might possibly be considered capable of being koshered.

Edited by harrisonh - 7/19/15 at 12:53pm
post #18 of 27

I think the point though is that there's no requirement that the knife be all-metal to be koshered.

"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
"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
post #19 of 27

I too think it doesn't need to be all metal, as does one of my (semi) observant friends whom I asked. I think his school knives would be fine because they are boilable, or as "millions of knives" said "why not get a separate set" and as "rick allen" said, probably OK to share stones between the two sets.

And I think I speak for us all in wishing Chonye, GOOD LUCK at school!

post #20 of 27
harrisonh, my comment about worse edge properties was predicated on them using X45CrMoV15 rather than the X50 of Forschners, not a claim to have personally disliked their performance. I've never used a Mercer knife. Good to know they're better than I thought. Out of curiosity, what do you prefer about heavier handled knives like the forged Victorinox series compared to the stamped rosewoods? Is it just the appearance or do you find a benefit in performance?

Back to advice for chonye, I agree that a separate inexpensive chef's knife now probably makes the most sense so that you can upgrade to a nice one rather than limit yourself to kosherable knives. If you're getting knives beyond just a chef's, though, you might want to restrict them to boilable stamped, plastic-handled knives like the Victorinox/Forschner Fibrox series so that you can kosher them later and not have to rebuy knives for those functions.
post #21 of 27
I think there might be a problem using the knife day after day at school, in a non-kosher kitchen, to say the least, and use it night after night at home, after a kashering procedure. It might be bad for your knife, and may perhaps even make questionable your kosher householding. Kashering procedures are meant for reparing human errors, or leaving uncertainties, not for repetitive faults. Ask for specialized advise within your community, and consider the use of different knives.
post #22 of 27

gladious, really just because America's test kitchen likes them, everybody assumes they are something they are not. Being heavy is not a sign of being good, nor of being bad. The benefit is in the mechanics of their construction. Heavy is not the benefit, all the individual angles is the benefit. You've seen me post in other threads about the new knives I have "acquired". They are stamped too, but you can look at them and see dozens of individual angles (and hence, steps in handcrafting)  instead of the 10 in a fiberox. The rosewood is really not much better than a fiberox except that you don't have to dremel it and rosewood DOES look pretty.The even the comis don't generally use this level of knife. House knives are just around in case people leave their roll at home.

 Again a fiberox is simply cut like a cookie cutter. And while  A wusthof pro is also just cut out like a cookie cutter, and uses the same steel as all the german steel knives we're talking about, it has a much more ergonomic angle handle to board, much better designed ergonomics in the grip, much better material in the handle (grippier, more forgiving. less slipping under in blood and mucus). And for disclosure, I was furnished several wusthof pros, but they do not require us to give positive reviews. They are just obviously superior, Just go down to a restaurant supply store and compare the wusty pro and a fiberox side by side. And I did NOT get any testers from Mercer.

post #23 of 27

Mercer might make different tiers of products but the kits they supply to culinary students are, by and large, junk.  I've worked with a few kids that had Mercer rolls and the knives were subpar IMO.  I'm pretty much all-Japanese in my work kit but even compared to stuff like Wusthoff they're not that good.

"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
"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
post #24 of 27

most schools issue Genesis/ It's Wusthof grand Prix 2 clone. I'm glad that your high Japanese only tastes are met, but what does you bragging about having mostly Japanese have anything to do with the needs of the original post.

I've got plenty of artisan knives. I've got plenty by many commercial companies. I even  get samples of wusthof and henkels. I've got a few powdered metal, i've got a handful of super A's, I've got more than a few blues handfuls of whites, dozens of VG10 san mai. It's not about what knives we prefer. The thread is about a knife that is good for a student and can be koshered Big deal for either of us if it doesn't help the person who is requesting help. It's not about either of our egos', It'ss about sharing and helping others.
Why are you so dead set against Mercer??? Is it just your blind love for Fiberox, that you have to panic and put down any item priced almost the same that's better than it? I never said they were the best knives. I said they are great values for the dollar and very competent, reliable. They are a great value for the dollar. They are not my favorites, but it IS reliable and cheap. And so are the Wusty pros.

Again all this is off topic. The thread started about metal knives and knives that can be koshered, NOT your blind love of fiberox.
Let's stay on topic and we don't need to have a pissing match.

Edited by harrisonh - 7/19/15 at 11:01pm
post #25 of 27
Thread Starter 
Hey everyone,

I started school and I bought a knife kit from Club Chef. Their lowest price knives that they self-produce.

I also bought a Fibrox and paring knife for $68.

Most people in my class have the Fibrox set.

I will keep my non kosher knives for non kosher purposes. My Fibrox will be for home use. Any work I do in kosher kitchens will need to be done with their knives to ensure their kashrut.

Thank you everybody for your help and opinion. This thread is by no means closed, I'm sure there are others that have/will benefit from this conversation.

Just one comment I'd like to make re something mentioned earlier:
Food mixing is determined by direct contact or heat. So Separation of milk and meat; and kosher and non kosher ingredients, means that foods may not touch, and steam from one dish cannot go into another.

There is no such thing as cross contamination via air etc.

A Chabad House is waiting for you to come home. For your local Chabad ambassador's address, please visit Chabad . org, and search for your nearest center.
post #26 of 27
Originally Posted by chonye View Post

There is no such thing as cross contamination via air etc.


What you mean is that this is not a consideration.





post #27 of 27
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Rick Alan View Post

What you mean is that this is not a consideration.


Right, I meant in context of kosher there is no such thing...
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