Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Cookware >
Dec 20, 2006 04:46 AM

need a versatile knife, suggestions

I recently moved across the country, and had leave all my cookware behind in storage. One of the equipment being a forged Global 8.25" Chef's knife. My roommate has one of those $20 for a 15 piece plus block knife set. As you can imagine, you get what you pay for. No matter what I do with the steel (we don't have any whetstones), it does not get and stay sharp.

I want to get a good versatile knife in the interrim. I'm already very happy with my Global chef's knife, and I've had a lot of "chop time" with a Henkels, which I find to also be an excellent knife. But I don't want to spend nearly as much on something I already have.

At first, after doing a lot of research, I found a comparison of several German vs. Japanese style knives on a site called "cooking for engineers". While not the highest performer, one was deemed one of the best value. The knife was a Japanese made western style chef's knife called "Tojiro F-808 8.2-in Gyuto". In the testing it performed better than the Tojiro professional line. I even found a place locally where I can get it at a decent discount, less than $45.

I went to take a look at it, and to get a feel for it. It is lighter than my Global (180g vs 268g), but it has a comfortable grip. Like many Japanese knives it's very thin, made of a hard steel (60-61 rockwell), and very sharp.

But as I was looking, I still couldn't shake the feeling that I'm unnecessarily buying something I already have. Should I get a completely different kind of knife that is just as versatile as a chef's knife, like purchasing a santoku instead?

What would you do in my position? I'm interested in hearing about other decent but inexpensive brand/line knives should I look at?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Panoz, The best knives for those on a budget are Forschner stamped steel knives. Most people might be surprised, but the Forschner knife is ubiquitous in the food service industry because they are tough, extremely sharp and the handles are a contoured Fibrox that is non-slip and extremely comfortable. I am a professional baker and I probably couldn't do my job W/O the inexpensive Forschner paring knives.

    A santuko knife is very useful and great to have in your knife arsenal, but they are best used for prepping vegetables.

    Panoz, are you any relation to Don Panoz of ALMS fame?

    1 Reply
    1. re: Kelli2006

      I second the Forschner even though I have a Shun, among others. Great value for an inexpensive knife.

    2. I have 2 suggestions. One is to get a similar knife, but in carbon steel (yeah, the kind that if not wiped down after use will discolor, etc.) This kind of steel is not out of date, just different--generally easier to sharpen, etc. It is also the kind of steel a lot of those razor sharp sushi knives are made of. Look at the Hiromoto High Carbon HC-4 @ It's a little bigger than your Global--but, perhaps surprisingly, doesn't seem so large b/c the weight of japanese knives are generally lighter than you'll find in your typical German blades.

      The other possibility is to pick up a low-cost cleaver, which many people use instead of a chef's knife. An all purpose chopper, slicer, scooper, you-name-it. Maybe you'll discover you love it. Here's a link to a recent review of one choice: kitchen forum is loaded with people dispensing knowledgable advice. Your Tojiro knife gets mentioned there quite often. Any of the choices I mentioned should be under $50. Good luck.

      1. Ditto the two links The Loaf gave you. Only thing I'd add is that if you're looking for something different, or a new experience, try a slicing cleaver. Some of the guys over at the knife forum swear by them, and do all their cooking with one. I personally don't have one, but they've had great results with rather inexpensive cleavers. Head over to the forum and read some of their reviews :)

        1. Get the same knife and that way, when you send your knives out for sharpening, you will always have one to work with. Also, I'm guessing you will have a sous chef in your kitchen and then you won't have to fight over who get's the Global. ;)

          1. ok,i think this is the company i'm thinking of. this sounds cheesy, but i have one of these and its actually not bad, my moms had a foreversharp for 25 years, no problems, plus, if it ever does break or get dull they send you a new one. i saw a demo in a store once..he did actually saw a board in half lol, it was kind of corny, but i love the knives

            it sounds like you already have a good chefs knife. i suppose these stay sharp because they're serrated, but still i like them.