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Looking For Knife Suggestions

c
ChoppinBroccoli Jan 10, 2007 07:06 PM

I have started to cook more seriously in the last couple of years, and am now interested in getting a good knife for the kitchen. Want a good all-around knife that will last, and is not too expensive ($110 max).

Was fascinated by the Santuko knife, but am not sure if that is the way to go. Have tried going to Sur La Table, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Crate & Barrel, but still haven't found what I'm looking for.

Am thinking that I want a 7 or 8 inch knife, the handle is not slippery, and that has a good weight to it. Most of the knives I looked at seemed to be geared towards women and were very light. Any thoughts, and/or suggestions on where to look at additional knife stores or websites (the problem w/ websites, of course, is that you can't give them a trial run).

Thanks.

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  1. m
    MarianLibrarian Jan 10, 2007 07:11 PM

    I bought my best friend a Cutco Santoku knife. It is a great all-purpose knife. I have used it and it is a dream to cut with. Cutco knives have a lifetime guarantee. We have used them for over 15 years. Cutco has a website (cutco.com); the company that makes them is called Vector.

    1 Reply
    1. re: MarianLibrarian
      HaagenDazs Jan 10, 2007 07:28 PM

      Aren't Cutco from a stamped blade? Either way, Cutcos are pretty lightweight.

    2. k
      kayonyc Jan 10, 2007 07:12 PM

      http://nymag.com/restaurants/features...

      This is a good article in which Chef Masa Takayama rates the top sellers.

      I have a Henkels version that looks similar to the second one in the article. I love it - a nice weight, sturdy, and easy to sharpen.

      1. HaagenDazs Jan 10, 2007 07:23 PM

        CutleryandMore.com has some good prices. I like the Sabatier Au Carbone. Of course there is always Wusthof.

        2 Replies
        1. re: HaagenDazs
          Ernie Diamond Jan 10, 2007 09:11 PM

          An enthusiastic second for the Sabatier. It demands a bit of maintainence but it is my favorite.

          1. re: Ernie Diamond
            Caroline1 Feb 15, 2008 10:35 PM

            I love Sabatier knives! My favorite is an 10" chef's knife. "Sabatier" is stamped into the top of the blade, but the steel is so hard it is very difficult to read. Comparing it to Sabatiers now shown on the Sabatier Store website it comes closest to the antique knives.

            Whatever. But it is a witness to the quality of Sabatier. I bought it in 1961 for $40.00 at a military base exchange. I have never had it sharpened by a professional, and I have also never ever ever put it through an electric knife sharpener! But I do always run it across my steel at a 45 degree angle before each use. It is as sharp (maybe sharper) than it was the day I bought it. A beautifully balanced rust free knife. I have no idea what kind of steel it is -- possibly molibdinum? -- but it takes an edge as well and as easily as any of my carbon steel knives. It's incredibe!

            I also have a couple of other Sabatier knives, both carbon steel that need extra pampering to preclude rust. And in time, the blades stain, whereas the 10" is as gorgeous as the day it was made. But stained blades that can rust if not washed and dried immediately, the Sabatier carbon steel knives are as perfectly balanced and take an edge as well as their very elderly "big brother."

            Curiously, Sabatier knives are less expensive than a lot of German knives. Sabatier are made in France, and way back when I bought my first one, they were the preferred knives of professionals.

        2. C. Hamster Jan 10, 2007 07:26 PM

          Whatever you do, try the knife out before you buy it. Don't buy over the internet without handling the knife in person. For example, Global knives are excellent cutlery but their handle and heft is not a good fit for everyone -- it's love or hate.

          2 Replies
          1. re: C. Hamster
            p
            pabboy Jan 11, 2007 12:15 AM

            I have Wüsthof Classic and Henckels Pro-S but what do I use everyday? My trusty Global. More maneuverable. Better balance. Stays sharper. Thinner blade. Stronger metal. Best part? Won't scratch with scouring pad! I treat it like junk yet it remains as loyal as ever.

            My advice is to try out as many knives as you can before buying.

            1. re: C. Hamster
              Divamac Jan 14, 2007 03:04 AM

              The Global 7-inch vegetable knife is a "love" for me. I have very long hands, and thought is might be too small and light for me, but once I learned how to use it (gripping the blade), it's acually extremely comfortable, not slippery when held correctly, and much easier to control than a heavier knife. It's a great all-purpose knife, and it holds an edge incredibly well. ($86 Sur la table).

            2. r
              Rocknrope Jan 10, 2007 07:32 PM

              Regardless of the brand, if you're looking for one good all around knife, I would forego the Santoku and go for a 8-10 inch Chef's Knife. Then hit your local Kitchen store/Bed Bath and Beyond and handle the wares of different makers.

              I personally love my Shun Classic Chef knife and Santoku, but the Santoku's edge is thin (even thinner because it's a Shun) and not the best for meat/chicken. A chef's knife is a better all purpose. If you want alittle more heft to your knife, it seems the Germans have abit more weight to them.

              When you find one you like, don't forget to check Ebay. I've found great deals on my knives there.

              1. yayadave Jan 10, 2007 07:34 PM

                Here's some info.
                http://www.cookingforengineers.com/ar...
                But remember, you want a knife that's comfortable in your hand.
                If there's a place that sharpens knives in your area, check them out. They probably sell knives, also.

                1. Nora Rocket Jan 10, 2007 07:52 PM

                  I bought an 8" F. Dick chef's a few years ago and I'm NEVER LOOKING BACK! It's a great knife with a heft that suits me (don't care for light knives, myself...but check with me in about 30 years when my wrists are shot, ha ha...) and it holds an edge very, very well. I'd echo Rocknrope: pass on the santoku and get a chef's knife, 8" for easy handling. About the only thing it can't do is easily slip through a big (bigger than butternut) squash.

                  1. p
                    panoz Jan 10, 2007 08:02 PM

                    There are a lot of knives in your budget. From inexepensive, but high quality stamped knives like Forschners (~$30), midrange German knives like Henkels and Wustoff. You can start getting into high end knives which is dominated by Japanese forged blades. I've found an excellent Japanese chef's knife for $50 made by Tojiro.

                    Forged knives are almost always better than stamped knives.

                    Personally, I'd say anything a santuko can do, a chef's knife (gyuto) can do better. The only advantage a santuko has over a chef's knife is in a tiny kitchens where you want only a 5-7 inch blade. If you think knives are too light, you don't want a santuko.

                    I just reread your post and you mentioned going to a few stores and not finding what you want. Those stores you metioned carry Henkels and Wustoff. I don't know too many blades much heavier than the German ones. If you're still looking for something with more heft, perhaps you'd consider a cleaver? Some people have converted to use cleavers exclusively and replaced their chef's knife. Although I've never used them, I've heard excellent reviews with Chan Chi Kee (CCK) and Town Food Service brand Chinese cleavers.

                    As someone else mentioned, above all else, try it before you buy it.

                    If you really want to research high end kitchen knives, here are some websites, which I found very informative. But like I said, they're pretty much only going to discuss Japanese blades:

                    http://www.knifeforums.com/forums/showforum.php?fid/26/
                    http://www.foodieforums.com/vbulletin...

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: panoz
                      w
                      wertwert Jan 12, 2007 06:48 PM

                      Forged knives are not almost always better than stamped knives. All the knives you listed with the exception of the Wusthof are stamped, not forged. More precisely, the knives are cut from a sheet of metal, heat treated, and then fitted with a handle and a bolster. All VG-10 knives (including the Shun) are made this way as well as Globals and most stainless steel Japanese knives. Henckels also uses this method (they call it SCT). The only Japanese knives that are forged are the high-end sushi knives that claim to be made like samurai swords in the traditional method.

                      1. re: wertwert
                        p
                        pabboy Jan 13, 2007 02:53 PM

                        I'm looking at my Global catalog and they have a line of forged knives. They cost about 20-30% more than the stamped ones.

                      2. re: panoz
                        c
                        chuckl Feb 5, 2008 05:40 PM

                        i would dispute your claim that forged knives are almost always better than stamped knives. What are you basing that on? I've used both and if they're sharp, they'll cut. Cooks illustrated, i believe (i could be wrong) chose the forschner 8 inch chef's over just about everything and said it doesnt make any difference if the knife is stamped or forged.

                      3. srgoodman Jan 10, 2007 08:21 PM

                        If you want a good general purpose knife with some heft, I'd recommend the Wüsthof Extra-Wide cook's knife, in 8" or 10" length. The 10" extra-wide has been my "go-to" knife for years.

                        1. d
                          dikaryon Jan 10, 2007 09:07 PM

                          I just bought the MAC MTH-80 MAC Mighty Chef 8" knife based on the recommendation at http://www.cookingforengineers.com/ar... and I am very happy with it so far. It is super sharp, has a nice weight and feel in the hand, and is a good size. It's additional heft, curved blade, and longer length, along with its dimples, make it like a santuko-style chef's knife.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: dikaryon
                            irodguy Jan 13, 2007 03:16 AM

                            Yep I would second that. If you are buying a Japanese knife don't buy a cutco .... generic American knife. Purchase a real Japanese knife that is made by a super high quality company. They make knives now, they used to make swords.

                            Mac is a great professional quality knife. You can also look at
                            http://www.japanesechefsknife.com/products.html

                            Of course you could go with what most restaurant professionals use and go with a Forschner. Another choice is Sanelli http://www.sanelliknives.com/. These are high quality long lasting but just not the same quality as a Japanese forged knife.

                          2. f
                            FAL Jan 10, 2007 11:25 PM

                            Check out this web site. www.knifemerchant.com

                            1. g
                              gordonw Jan 10, 2007 11:32 PM

                              I'm in the same boat. I've decided to get a little serious with my knife. Essentially I started with only a Santoku as my only and primary knife. Its a good general knife to start with thats not too intimidating, but over time with experience you do see it has some limitations, so its time to expand.

                              I've checked the same stores, and pretty much they carry the same thing. Wusthof, Henckels, Shun, and Global. To be different, I decided not to buy German knives. Shuns are pricey, and Global handles are too small except for their 10in chef knife. Since this would be my everyday general purpose knife, I decided to go with the Victorinox Forged Chefs Knife in the 8in size. It has a nice weight to it and listed for under $90. The 10in is a little better length, but I found it just too heavy but a good price for $120.

                              You may also want to check out Messermeister knives.

                              1. z
                                ziggylu Jan 11, 2007 01:15 AM

                                I have Wusthof, Henckels, Shun, Forschner and Messermeister in my kit and in my kitchen.

                                My favorite knife is my Messermeister Elite chef's knife. I have the St. Moritz which is the molded handle. There is also a rivited handle in the Elite line. I like the weight and heft. I like the 15 degree edge. I like how it holds its edge and how easy it is to sharpen.

                                Knives are so personal...as suggested try them all out and see which you like the feel of.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: ziggylu
                                  f
                                  FlyFish Jan 11, 2007 03:59 AM

                                  I've owned quality knives for some 40 years, starting with the old "Elephant" brand Sabatiers. I still have just about every one I ever bought. Many years later, I was introduced to the high-carbon stainless German knives and really came to love Wusthof. A little while ago, more as an experiment than anything, I bought a 9" Messermeister Elite chef's knife with kullens, and it's become my "go to" knife. Comfortable handle, great balance, apparently (jury's still out, but so far so good) very good steel. I particularly like the way the bolster doesn't extend all the way to the edge - makes resharpening so much easier. Overall a wonderful product. As you correctly say, knives are personal, but for me this one is perfection.

                                  1. re: FlyFish
                                    z
                                    ziggylu Jan 11, 2007 02:26 PM

                                    Yes yes. I love mine too! REally. It was one of my first good knives and I just keep going back to it. My Shun was my latest addition and while the edge is very impressive as is the steel...I just prefer how the Messermeister feels in my hand and have gone back to it on a regular basis.

                                    Mine is about 7 years old now and the steel has held up really well. Did I mention how easy it is too keep sharp?

                                    I work at one of hte major kitchen stores part-time(mostly as a hobby LOL) and we don't sell these...I hate when people ask me what my favorite is since it isn't one of the ones we sell!

                                2. revsharkie Jan 11, 2007 03:32 AM

                                  My sister is only just (at age 35!) starting to get serious about cooking so for Christmas I got her a Henckels santoku to replace her ridiculous old Farberware "never needs sharpening" weirdly serrated nasty knives. She reports that she's happy with it.

                                  My own knives are really cheap ones that my mom gets--her church ladies have this company that they sell knives from as a fundraiser--but they work as long as I keep them sharp.

                                  1. t
                                    The Loaf Jan 11, 2007 07:13 AM

                                    I would recommend a Japanese gyuto as well. There are a lot of good ones out there. You could ask your question over @ http://www.knifeforums.com/forums/showforum.php?fid/26/ You'll probably get a dozen knowledgable answers.

                                    Also, check out http://www.japanesechefsknife.com/ as a good place to order from. If you really want german, look into Messermeister, as someone suggested.

                                    1. c
                                      ChoppinBroccoli Jan 11, 2007 03:36 PM

                                      THANKS to everyone for posting and helping out. However, after poking around a bit more on the web, it looks like I need to make a trip to NY to be able to "test-drive" what I'm looking for. Below is what appeals to me most. But, I live in the D.C. area, and I just don't think I can find these knives in the area. For some reason the German knives don't appeal to me (too cold...), and many of the other knives feel to light. Does any body have any other suggestions on how to test-drive knives if you don't live in an area where there are stores available? It looks like maybe NY and LA are some of the few places where you can get a really good selection of knives that you can try out.

                                      Thanks again for all your input. See my favorite selections below, and let me know if you have any suggestions. Right now I'm leaning toward the Gyutou knives b/c they seem so versatile, and b/c the Santoku seem like they might be too short.

                                      Oh, another question. I'm left-handed. These sites say that I'll need to buy a "special left-handed" knife. Is this true? That would suck to have to pay extra.

                                      http://www.korin.com/product.php?pid=69&cat=53&subcat=12&subsubcat=&df=knife&catname=Purposes&subcatname=Santoku%20%28Multipurpose%29&subsubcatname=&mnum=HKR-V2S-SA175

                                      http://www.korin.com/models.php?cat=53&subcat=9&df=knife&catname=Purposes&subcatname=Gyutou%20%28Professional%20Multipurpose%29

                                      Like the "Deba" model on this site:

                                      http://www.japanesechefsknife.com/SDSwedenSteelSeriesJapaneseStyle.html

                                      Like the Santoku Shun model as seen below:

                                      http://www.broadwaypanhandler.com/bro...&

                                      6 Replies
                                      1. re: ChoppinBroccoli
                                        r
                                        Rocknrope Jan 11, 2007 04:09 PM

                                        Ahhhh, you're left-handed. Well then, that may eliminate the Shuns, unless you get a left handed version, which you probably will have to mail order. The Shun's handles are "D"-shaped, so they fit better in your hand - that is, if you're right handed. I'm sure they make lefty models, but not sure how many stores would carry them in regular stock.

                                        1. re: ChoppinBroccoli
                                          p
                                          pabboy Jan 11, 2007 04:20 PM

                                          Korin is your best bet. I stop by there every few months to drool at the displays. They have the most extensive selection of Japanese knives on the East Coast. The people there are knowledgeable and friendly. While you are up here you should hit Broadway Panhadler for knives and other kitchen supplies.

                                          1. re: ChoppinBroccoli
                                            g
                                            gordonw Jan 11, 2007 05:37 PM

                                            I'm considering the Tojiro DP 240mm gyutou to supplement my western chef knife. Its a really great price.

                                            http://www.korin.com/product.php?pid=...

                                            If you also want a Santoku, you may also want to look at Mac. Tojiro makes one at great price also.

                                            1. re: ChoppinBroccoli
                                              p
                                              panoz Jan 12, 2007 04:53 PM

                                              As far as the Korin branded knife, yes, you'd want to have it converted to left handed handles. Those knives have asymmetric handles, that would be uncomfortable for lefties. Korin does have a in-shop knife master, so he can convert them while you wait. I do believe it's a $25 fee.

                                              As far as I know, there aren't many Japanese knife brick-and-mortar stores in the US. Korin in NYC, Epicurean Edge near Seattle comes to mind.

                                              1. re: panoz
                                                w
                                                will47 Feb 3, 2008 10:47 PM

                                                It's not just the handles that are asymmetric - the edge often is as well (Korin's site indicates which ones are and which aren't). Even on Western style blades that aren't one-sided, a lot of Japanese knives (Global, Shun, Misono, for example) have a working edge on the right side and a micro-bevel on the other. This does make maintenance trickier.

                                                As I understand it, the converting that Korin does doesn't have to do with the handle, but rather with reshaping the edge.

                                                This is really a pretty unique service; most Japanese knife makers don't make left-handed knives (as I understand it, there's a big stigma attached to left-handedness in Japanese culture, so people who are left-handed just learn to use their right hand). Given the amount of knowledge and training the main guy at Korin has, I'd say this is the place to go if you want a left-handed Japanese knife.

                                                1. re: will47
                                                  p
                                                  pabboy Feb 4, 2008 07:28 AM

                                                  Global knives have symmetrical edge.

                                                  http://www.yoshikin.co.jp/w/craftsman...

                                            2. HaagenDazs Jan 11, 2007 03:48 PM

                                              That style of knife seems to commonly have ergonomically designed handles. That's the only reason I could foresee them having to change the knife - they're actually just changing the handle. There should be no change in blade shape unless you're using a sushi knife or something similar which is ground on only one side like the SD style on the Japanese Chefs Knife site. Of course you could forgo all that difficulty by buying a Wusthof Santoku for a lot cheaper ;-)

                                              1. jbyoga Jan 11, 2007 04:13 PM

                                                Check out the classic Wusthof Tridents - I have the 8 inch and 10 inch chefs and use the 8inch 90% of the time. It holds a great edge, sharpens easily and I find it to be very comfortable...in either hand!

                                                1. s
                                                  Stek Jan 14, 2007 03:19 AM

                                                  Check out knifemerchant.com. Every major player is listed there with photos and introductions to the companies. Also every knife of the line is pictured as well. There is also a lot of good knife care info and accessory info.

                                                  There are a lot of pretty knives out there and there are some really good practical workhorses as well. One knife that has served me well over the years is a 5" Wustoff santuko with the classic handle. This is the knife I brought to work with me everyday. The only augmentation I made was a rubber band on the handle to keep it from spinning when I set it down. Great knife.

                                                  1. k
                                                    Kelli2006 Jan 15, 2007 04:56 PM

                                                    My daughter gave me a Kitchen-aid forged santuko for X-mas. It has a neoprene covered grip handle and the blade shape has a bit of rock to it, but its a very nice knife for a lower price point. I prefer to use my forged 6" French shape Forschner and my 2 German 6-8" chefs knives. I also have a large Chinese cleaver that is very intimidating to use but it very convenient for some tasks.

                                                    All of my bread/pastry knives are stamped Forschner and I love them. The Forschner paring knife is a kitchen miracle, and a absolute bargain at $6.00 each.

                                                    1. unvthis19 Mar 4, 2007 09:20 AM

                                                      I just recently got the Knives that Furi and Rachel Ray joined up to make... I have had the
                                                      Santuko for two years I would chose my Furi over it anyday.. It is a great forged knive and it cuts through anything... The handle is modeled around steel and is made of rubber it is a very comfortable to hold and its is very strong... I have a 5 inch and a 7 inch..

                                                      1. littlegreenpea Mar 4, 2007 10:14 AM

                                                        We're very happy with our Wustoffs.

                                                        1. f
                                                          fancycook1 Mar 4, 2007 03:16 PM

                                                          If you havent gotten your knives yet, and want a heavy knife. Henckels makes a knife called Twin Cuisine. Its one of the heaviest on the market. It has a great feel and it is a beautiful knife. Plus its a Henckels, they have been around for 276 years

                                                          1. d
                                                            Dave Westerberg Mar 5, 2007 05:20 PM

                                                            I've used a Joyce Chen chef's knife as my chef's knife for twenty years:
                                                            http://www.cutleryandmore.com/details...
                                                            They are about twenty dollars at World Market.
                                                            Buy a good steel and a good, sharp, paring knife of your choice, and you're good to go.
                                                            dave

                                                            1. j
                                                              justagthing Mar 5, 2007 09:43 PM

                                                              Go to a knife store or kitchen specialt store. See if they have a knife specialist and ask questions. They should be able to let you test them and get a handle and feel for the knives. I went to South Coast Plaza and talked to the knife specialist at William Sonoma. I did not buy anything the time and I did not feel pressured, as many of the people there work part time just for the discount and they are not on commission. Anyways, I learned so much and have a new wish list. As for type of knife, I agree that a santuko may not be what you want to get. A chef's knife is much more useful. As for brand, that would depend on what you are most comfortable with. Have fun shopping!

                                                              1. xnyorkr Mar 6, 2007 07:20 AM

                                                                If you live in the DC area, I urge you to try Home Good, Marshall's, and TJ Maxx. They have good knives (Wurstof, Kitchenaid, Sabatier, Cuisinart, Henckels, catch-as-catch-can of course) for a fraction of the price, and you can touch them. And restaurant supply stores (there is one on Nebel St. in Rockville, and one off Edsall Road in Alexandria) have a large selection of knives. I have a set of Wurstof Classic and I love them. You can get the individual chef's knife in TJM for about $25 (or $39, I forgot).

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: xnyorkr
                                                                  s
                                                                  SusieS Feb 4, 2008 07:44 AM

                                                                  I've lived by my 10" Wusthof for the past 28yrs. Back then it ran about 100.00. Single most important thing in my kitchen!

                                                                2. g
                                                                  gastronomical Feb 5, 2008 06:35 AM

                                                                  You really want the Shun Classic 7" dimpled Santoku. The ultimate all purpose cutting tool. The dimples are great for foods that stick like cheese. Great balance made with VG10 steel (much sharper because it can be fabricated thinner, and holds an edge far longer then high carbon steel found in german knives.) This is the go to guy in my knife bag.

                                                                  1. a
                                                                    ajm1555 Feb 15, 2008 12:25 PM

                                                                    I have Henckels Twine Cuisine. It is a big handle and weighs alot. Great for Males. Handle might be slightly more slippery then wood, but I love them!

                                                                    1. w
                                                                      wildfire Feb 29, 2008 09:42 AM

                                                                      I would check out these sites:
                                                                      http://www.chefsresource.com/metal-knives.html
                                                                      http://www.foodservicewarehouse.com/Kitchen.Cutlery
                                                                      http://www.justknives101.com/
                                                                      They all look like they have a wide selection, and some information about each kind of knife.

                                                                      1. t
                                                                        The Loaf Mar 3, 2008 12:47 AM

                                                                        These days I think a lot of people boil it down to 2 choices: go with a German type knife like Wusthof, or a Japanese knife of similar shape (Gyuto), or some other shape (Santuko). The Japanese knives are generally thinner, harder, and (I think) used with more finesse. The Germans are softer, thicker and can be used with less concern--for example, I would avoid hacking through chicken bones with a more brittle Japanese blade.

                                                                        So they each have their uses and their proponents. I like the Japanese steel myself for 90% of my work, but do keep my Wusthof around for rougher chores. Could use a cleaver for that as well.

                                                                        Last concern: At some point your knife will get dull and you'll have to sharpen it somehow. German knives are a little more forgiving here, but the edge may not last as long. Also, there are several German knives without bolsters (Messermeister makes them along with the Wusthof Cordon Bleu line, for example) which help in sharpening them. Japanese knives do well with waterstones, more time-consuming, but worthwhile. Whatever you do, don't use a ridged steel on a hard Japanese edge. Great way to chip the metal.

                                                                        1. LNG212 Mar 3, 2008 01:08 AM

                                                                          I have Henckels and have been very pleased them, used them for a long time.

                                                                          But recently I took a cooking class at Viking. They have their own line of knives (not sure if they make them or someone makes for them). Their knives that we used in the class were quite hefty, greater weight than my Henckels. You may want to check them out too.

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