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When does carbon steel really make a difference?

Poll Results: Other than a chef's, what knife benefits the most from carbon steel?

This is a multiple choice poll
  • 33% of voters (1)
    Paring
  • 66% of voters (2)
    Boning
  • 33% of voters (1)
    Bread (just curious)
  • 100% of voters (3)
    Slicing
  • 0% of voters (0)
    Other (please explain!)
3 Total Votes  
post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
I can't rationalize a carbon steel bread knife. Actually the only reason I'd even buy forged is for looks. As I understand it, carbon steel excels at meat and not hard things. So if I could pick a couple knives to invest in high quality for high returns, which ones would be the most effective?
post #2 of 8
I'm not sure that I understand or agree with your thesis, but suggest you invest in a chef, utility/paring, and slicer. You can get away with a lot less for cutting bread.
post #3 of 8
Paring i would want stainless.
post #4 of 8
I imagine maintenance on a carbon bread knife wouldn't be too bad. The main limitations of serrated knives seem to be the quality and sharpenability of the serration pattern.

Forged- for looks? Can you clarify?

Generalizing somewhat, carbon steels tend to have a more refined grain structure than stainless, and the lack of big alloying elements that form big carbides lead to the ability to take a keener edge and sharpen more easily.

At a lower price range, you can stand to get more bang for your buck with cheaper carbon vs cheaper stainless. Knives to be used constantly with citrus and other highly acidic foods may suffer from some premature edge degradation if carbon, but then you just sharpen them again...

Pick carbon for the knife you want to be a dang good cutter. What knife do you use the most right now?
post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by foody518 View Post

I imagine maintenance on a carbon bread knife wouldn't be too bad. The main limitations of serrated knives seem to be the quality and sharpenability of the serration pattern.

Forged- for looks? Can you clarify?

Generalizing somewhat, carbon steels tend to have a more refined grain structure than stainless, and the lack of big alloying elements that form big carbides lead to the ability to take a keener edge and sharpen more easily.

At a lower price range, you can stand to get more bang for your buck with cheaper carbon vs cheaper stainless. Knives to be used constantly with citrus and other highly acidic foods may suffer from some premature edge degradation if carbon, but then you just sharpen them again...

Pick carbon for the knife you want to be a dang good cutter. What knife do you use the most right now?

Forged for looks: forged knives are pretty! ;P

Do you really think carbon is a better value than stainless? I keep flip flopping between is this a good investment or an expensive hobby. I would love to hear some opinions; it's mostly on topic.

I pretty much am an idiot that uses a chef for everything. Is it a terrible idea to fillet a fish with a chef, or would it be worth investing in an actual fillet knife? I really need to take an actual cooking course. Anyone ever hear of a few weeks "Cooking for non culinary majors" class?
post #6 of 8
Value and investment are interesting terms to consider. A knife is a tool. Some are bad value and, therefore, bad investments. But I've yet to know a knife that appreciates in value at any rate worthy of being considered an investment. 🙂
post #7 of 8
I can't recall where you are located but many cooking stores offer classes, and some are at a basic level. Williams Sonoma has classes at some of their stores but they are mostly in big cities. Reading books can substitute... Like Jaque Pepin's Complete Techniques. I bought my wife s very basic cooking book, Cooking For Dummy's, but she was so offended by the title that I think she threw it away. I never really got to thumb through Iy but when I saw it in the bookstore it seemed a very good guide to cooking basics.
post #8 of 8

Stella Culinary is a pretty decent online resource for some basic knife skills vids.

Japanese Knife Imports Youtube channel for sharpening guidance.

Many different looks to forged knives :) don't know if you're referring to the bolster or some other aesthetic.

If buying new, I think yes carbon can be a better value. Though, some of the American/European vintages aren't all that cheap unless you find a good deal. I found some stuff yesterday night that was going to be $80-100 including shipping, which exceeds the price of a Tojiro DP by a bit. For not much more, you can get a Gesshin Uraku in White 2 steel. Should be a great knife, I've purchased the stainless version as a gift before (can't trust anyone I know except myself with a carbon steel knife currently).

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