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New knife

770 Views 6 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  rick alan
I am looking for a new knife for work just a general chefs knife for everyday use anyone any suggestions? Something sturdy but light and easy to keep sharp..not really got a budget as long as it's not crazy expensive.
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Welcome to ChefTalk!

Hopefully, this will be a back-and-forth dialogue between you and everyone else on this thread. So, to begin with, let's see if we can get a better idea of what will aid you.

You're a sous chef in Scotland, Beyond that, tell us more about what you're prepping and what your current knives are.

Can you describe the types of foods you currently prep? Are you considering any other types of foods that you will likely be working with in the near future?

What's your current primary chef's knife? How long is the blade? What other knives do you personally use?

Can we presume that you pinch-grip?

Are you primarily looking for a new chef's knife? Or would you be looking for something else?

What would you like a new knife to be like, in terms of length or style?

Are you sharpening your own knives? If so, how?

What's your budget?

Would you insist on handling the knife first before buying it, or are you willing to buy at a distance (such as from an internet retailer)? If you absolutely, positively need to (not just want to) first feel what the knife is like before buying, how far are you willing to travel to reach a brick and mortar store? That is, what's probably the largest city you're willing to travel to?


Now, about ceramics.....,.

I agree with Dick Richard

Yes, they're sharp. And what passes for a good quality ceramic blade will remain comparatively sharp for much longer than a comparable steel blade.


You need to check the brand name carefully. Quite a few "not-well-known-brand" ceramic blades come needing to be sharpened right out of the box, in order to be usable.

And sharpening ceramic blades is really quite problematic. Ordinary sharpening stones and processes just won't do much - ceramics are just too hard to respond well to ordinary sharpening methods.

Ceramic knives have a breakage problem. When the prerssure on a ceramic gets too high, it won't bend - it breaks. They are very, Very, VERY, VERY brittle. In comparison, steel, when it reaches too high a pressure, will bend. And if the pressure is much too high, the bend in the steel becomes permanent. Drop a steel bladed knife on the floor, and it will clatter and occasionally bend (especially if the tip is caught). Drop a ceramic blade on the floor and don't be surprised if it shatters.

And then, there's length.

There seems to be a maximum length that ceramic blades come in - and it works out to about 18 cm, or about 7 inches. That's because of Archemedes' principle of mechanical leverage, well known for over two thousand years. A longer blade is just that much more at risk of breaking. Put too much side pressure on one of these blades, especially near the point - SNAP!!

And don't think that you can always minimize side pressure. Use any blade on a cutting board and the edge will invariably cut into the surface of the board. Even with a micro cut into the surface, a sharp edge will be pressed on both sides by the cutting board material. And when twisting force is concentrated into a microscopic area, then imagine what that localized pressure must be.

The only person I know of who swears by (and not at) ceramic bladed knives isn't a chef - he's Master Rigger Brion Toss, who needs those incredibly sharp and hard edges in order to cut some of the newer hi-modulus rope fibers, such as Dyneema (which is several times stronger than steel cable rope for the same diameter!). Ordinary steel blades often dull on many hi-mod lines even before the first cut is completed.

But then Brion isn't prepping, then cooking foods - he's rigging boats, ships and chandeliers. And the knives he has are short and thick - not like knives in a kitchen, which need to be thin (to avoid wedging) and long (so they can cut large foods, such as roasts). Even so, Brion is well aware of the breakage problem - and his ceramic knife has a sheath which the knife is always put into when it's not in use.

Thanks, but no thanks for ceramic blades.

Galley Swiller
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