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Henckels Twin Select, Wusthof Grand Prix, Global, MAC or Shun Stainless?

soypower Jan 14, 2007 11:57 PM

Am planning on investing in a maximum of $300 for new knives. Consumer Reports says I should get Henckels Twin Select. Consumer Search says I should get Wusthof Grand Prix, and Cooking for Engineers says I should get either Global or MAC knives...And I love the look of Shun Stainless...

What say you 'hounds? I know this topic has been covered before, but I can't find a recent thread. Please advise.

Thanks! :o)

  1. f
    FlavoursGal Jan 15, 2007 12:36 AM

    I love my 10-inch Wusthof "Classic" (I've had the Grand Prix, as well, but I like the feel of the Classic better). I used Henckels years ago and switched to Wusthof, primarily because it seemed to me that Wusthof knives keep their edge better (and longer).

    I have also recently bought a Wusthof santoku knife, which I love, as well as a Mac 10-inch chef's knife with dimples.

    If I had to buy from scratch, I'd probably buy a 10-inch Wusthof Classic chef's knife (I prefer the way it handles over the Mac chef's knife when "rocking") and a Wusthof or Mac santoku knife. To round out my set, I'd buy a Wusthof paring knife and an inexpensive bread (serrated) knife.

    Note that buying knives is a very personal thing. I happen to love my old-fashioned chef's knife because it's what I'm used to (and it's been tough learning how to ease up on the pressure when using the thinner and sharper santoku and Mac).

    Carving knives and boning knives are specialty knives that you can add to your collection if you really need them.

    Do yourself a favour and try out the different knives in a real restaurant supply or cookware shop. Do not order online, sight (and feel) unseen.

    And don't forget to buy (and use!) a good sharpening steel.

    5 Replies
    1. re: FlavoursGal
      xnyorkr Feb 9, 2007 08:14 AM

      I just went thru the same decision as Soypower, deciding to invest in a good set of knives. To get to the bottom line, after comparing a bunch (meaning, holding them and reading about them) I bought Wustof Classic, and am still in love. Even though a lot of people say not to bother buying a set, I found one that was a great buy (on sale) and I got "six for the price of two", so why not? I use the chef's knife the most. I sharpened it twice since I bought them (in December!), but I like it sharp, and I use it all the time. Before I sharpened it, I called Wustof's customer service and asked them how.

      I hated chopping and always asked "kitchen helpers" (or my Cuisinart fp) to do it. Maybe that's because it was so hard with my old, cheap knives. Now I chop and mince every piece of food I get my hands on (smile).

      Oh, also invest in a good cutting board and storage place for your knives if you don't already have them.

      1. re: FlavoursGal
        r
        rbluvsfood Feb 10, 2010 08:57 AM

        I am looking at two knive types.....Global and Wusthof. Purchased the 13" slicing knife already from Global and find it to be amazingly sharp beyond anything I could have imagined. I also am interested in getting more info on Wusthof.

        Two thoughts: which one of these knives is easier to maintain? I just read that the traditional way to sharpen a knife will not work on the Global knives since it needs to be sharpened on a wet Whestone medium grid sharpener........ My thought is what ever happened to the hand held knife sharpener I learned to sharpen on years ago that always worked ok on my old German knives. Will this not do a good enough job on Global knives? Therefore is this knife high maintance?

        Which brings me to my next question. What is the best way to sharpen a Wusthof? I was hoping to have a complete set of knives the same however it seems that may not be the case.........

        I do a lot of chopping and cutting veggies and also wanted to get your own opinion on the best knife you would recommend to prevent my hands from getting tired.

        1. re: rbluvsfood
          Chemicalkinetics Feb 10, 2010 09:15 AM

          Rbluvsfood,

          What are you referring by stating "traditional" way to sharpen a knife will not work on Global? Waterstone sharpening is very traditional, more traditional than most methods. Most Japanese knves and even German should be sharpening on a ~1000 grits stone and probably finish on a 4000-8000 grits. What is a hand held knife sharpener? Do you mean something like this:

          http://www.google.com/products/catalo...

          A handheld diamond stones works but a bit too difficult to work with and a bit too coarse as a finishing stone.

          Global has its own challenge. Global edge is convex, that is the issue. It has nothing to do with medium grid stone. By the way, you probably don't want to finish on a medium grid sharpener.

          The best way to sharpen a Wusthof (just my opinion) is the same for a Japanese knife like Shun. I have sharpen my Wusthof Black Ikon and now it is much more refined than the factory edge. It cut way better. I believe most if not all Wusthof is X50CrMoV15, good steel but nothing too impressive.

          If you do a lot of vegetable slicing and cutting, then I think the harder (HRC >60) and thinner Japanese influced knives like Shun and Global and Tojiro.... will work better for you. However, if you think you will need to crack a bone once awhile, then the thicker and tough Wusthof is better. We are talking about Chef's knife, right?

          Alternatively, I find the $37 CCK 1303 pretty impressive for vegetable slicing. The only thing you need to be aware is that it is a Chinese chef's profile knife and it is carbon steel (not stainless steel).

          1. re: rbluvsfood
            w
            will47 Feb 10, 2010 09:34 AM

            Sharpening / honing any of the Japanese knives will probably be a little harder overall than a German knife (the steel is a little harder, and often you'll have / want asymmetric angle on the blade), but the good news is that they will hold an edge longer, and you can send the knife out for sharpening by a professional. I've heard different schools of thought about whether you should use any sort of steel (whether diamond or otherwise) with a Japanese knife for basic honing... I usually don't, whereas with German knives, I use a steel periodically to hone the blade. You can use a strop or extra-fine whetstone to hone the Japanese knife... there's also this weird clay-like compound that I've seen used for stropping.

            If it were me, I'd go for Misono (or Tojiro if you're trying to save money) or a similar knife over the Global. The Globals are cool and modern looking, but the handles can get slippery. They're pretty light-weight, which I find weird, but I guess you get used to - a matter of personal preference, I guess.

            A whetstone is the "best" way to sharpen either type of knife. However, the big bolster on the Wusthof will make almost any method of sharpening you choose more difficult. Save yourself money and get a Messermeister instead if you go the German route - their knives don't have a tang.

            I don't think a particular knife will be less likely to make your hands tired (other than to the extent it feels comfortable in your hand) - you should focus on standing correctly, using the knife correctly, and setting up your cutting environment right, and I think the rest will follow. Don't grip *too* tight (but tight enough, obviously), make sure your cutting board is secured (use a board with a grippy bottom or put a wet towel underneath if it's not heavy enough to stay put on its own), stand at a slight angle to the table with your cutting arm and knife at a 90 degree angle to the table / cutting board, use leverage to your advantage, and get a bigger knife than you think you need. I won't claim that I always have the perfect posture, but if you're doing a lot of chopping in the kitchen, it's a good thing to at least keep in mind.

            I have never had much luck with any sharpening gizmos. Learning to use a stone is not the easiest thing, but it's worth the effort, especially if you don't have a professional who really knows their stuff locally. Alternatively, you could consider one of the mail-order knife sharpening services.

            "What is the best way to sharpen a Wusthof? I was hoping to have a complete set of knives the same however it seems that may not be the case"

            Not quite sure I follow. Do you mean you already have a set, that you want all of your knives to match, or that you're thinking about getting a complete set? If the latter, please reconsider getting a set. You don't need one - my guess is that you can probably get away with 3 or 4 knives at most (8-10" chef, 3-4" paring, optionally a bread knife / slicer, and a boning knife if you're actually doing that sort of work). Spend 90% of your money on the chef's knife. If you mean that you want all the knives to match, I wouldn't worry about that so much.

            1. re: rbluvsfood
              Chemicalkinetics Feb 10, 2010 11:27 AM

              I agree with will47.

              The full bolster of Wusthof and Henckels can make sharpening very difficult, though there are few exception like Wusthof Ikon, Wusthof Le Cordon Bleu. Getting an entire knife set is not the best idea. It is best to get what you need. An goto knife like a German Che'f knife, a Gyotu, a Santoku, or a Chinese chef's is necessary, and then a paring knife and then maybe a bread knife and a boning knife.

          2. Quine Jan 15, 2007 12:44 AM

            Try them on for size. Not all knives feel right in *your* hand. What use is a great knife that you hate to use, and then go and use a horrible knife that is like an extention of your hand?

            And different size knives of the same maker feel different. So try them all. I certainly do not have a matched set of knives, but I sure have a great set of knives.

            1. jbyoga Jan 15, 2007 12:48 AM

              Love the Wusthoff's....had the same set since I was 14 and worked in a knife shop many years ago.....

              1. w
                will47 Jan 15, 2007 05:04 AM

                I agree about testing them out in person if possible.

                I have said this before in other threads, but anyway, I would avoid getting a "set" of knives. Spend most of your money on whatever knife you're going to use as your primary knife for chopping etc. - usually either an 8-10" chef's knife or a santoku, depending on your style of cooking. Then get cheaper knives for the rest - a 3" or 4" paring knife, a serrated slicer / bread knife, and any specialty knives you really think you'll need. The Mundial forged knives are a good value, and seem well made. http://happychefuniforms.com has good prices on them.

                The Shun knives are great, come with a razor edge, and look great. There are also some higher end Japanese knives that may be worth looking into - Hattori and Misono come to mind.

                check out:
                http://www.japanesechefsknife.com

                The Japanese knives may be a little trickier to sharpen at home, but are harder and should hold an edge longer than other knives.

                1. t
                  Theodore Jan 15, 2007 06:34 PM

                  OK, this is going to help.
                  The Henckels Twin Select is a stamped blade welded to a metal handle. This is a slick marketing trick used to tart up their stamped product line. The reason you don't want this is that the bolster is fake and it will be impossible to properly sharpen the knife. As the knife is sharpened, the bolsters get in the way of the knife edge making contact with the cutting surface. Over time the bolster has to be ground back with the rest of the blade. Because the bolsters on these are fake, if you grind them back, it will just open a hole in the handle.

                  The Wusthof classic has a forged blade and this is the pure vanila choice.

                  The Shun is made of significantly harder metal (Rockwell 61) than the Henckels or the Wusthof (Rockwell 55-57) and as such can support a more acute cutting angle. A more acute cutting angle, ceteris parabus makes cutting easier (Wusthof and Henckels are 18-20 degrees, Shun is 15 degrees and a razor blade is 4 degrees).

                  So if you want the better cutting instrument, the Shun is the answer.

                  (NB There is no accepted engineering standard for sharpness like there is for hardness. This allows all knife makers to make the same claim: "sharp as a razor" and why knife discussions are so lacking in quantitative data. The Knife engineers info is getting us closer to useful data, but the problem is that people say they want sharp knives when what they really want is something that requires less cutting force. Cutting force is a product of the profile of the edge of the knife, i.e. concave or convex or flat, the edge angle in degrees and the coeficient of dynamic friction between the side of the knfe and what it is cutting.)

                  9 Replies
                  1. re: Theodore
                    soypower Jan 15, 2007 07:55 PM

                    thank you that is very helpful...everytime i look at the shun stainless, i fall in love so i think i will go with those...:o)

                    1. re: soypower
                      c
                      chuckl Nov 25, 2007 11:33 AM

                      I have a shun stainless, and it feels great in my hand. I do find I'm building up a bit of a calous on the inside of my index finger using it, no biggie. I also have wusthof, henckels and Mac, and while I use them all, I like the superior heft of the shun for a lot of chopping jobs. You won't be disappointed in the shun stainless though.

                    2. re: Theodore
                      l
                      Leper Jan 15, 2007 08:24 PM

                      Theodore, Well said. I have been very impressed with Shun knives as an "out of the box, mass-manufactured knife" I feel is far superior to the current German offerings. Soypower should also look into some of the more hand crafted Japanese knives. They can be found at www.epicedge.com. Many of the knives available there are, by comparison, in a league of their own.

                      1. re: Leper
                        r
                        Russellkhan Jan 19, 2007 12:06 PM

                        Just a small correction to make your link work:

                        http://www.epicedge.com

                        Nice site, a lot of my money would disappear if I spent too much time surfing it, I think.

                      2. re: Theodore
                        k
                        Knife Novice Oct 28, 2008 09:50 PM

                        Sorry, Theodore, I beg to differ regarding the Henckels Twin Select. That knife's blade, bolster, and tang are forged from one steel blank. The sparate, stainless steel handle of the Twn Select if filled with cement. The knife's tang is then inserted about 75% of the way into the handle, where the steel and cement meld together.

                        By the way, both Henckels and Wusthof do NOT use the traditional "hot drop-forging" process used to make forged knives. Instead, Heat is only applied to the bloster area of the steel blank just before the actual forging take place. Pressure applied to the blank causes the red-hot bolster area to swell, the die hammer drops on the anvil hammer, and the resulting pressure and heat forces the heated bolster to assume its final shape. The entire knife - blade, bolster and tang - is then heated, cooled, frozen and heated again during the tempering process, but only the bolster is heated during the forging. I tlooks a bit like a stamping process with the use of heat and pressure.

                        The only knife line fromHenckel or Wusthof that still uses drop-hammer forging is the Henckels Twin Select line, and that is only because of the horizontal full tang of these knives.

                        1. re: Theodore
                          r
                          RGC1982 Feb 10, 2010 12:52 PM

                          I have Henkels Twin Pro, which in my estimation, is the kissing cousin of Wusthoff Classic (I have one of those too). I also have a couple of Shuns -- a Classic slicer and a ten inch Kaji (Elite made for WS). Here's my take on it: I love the Shun for most things, but it is super hard and also more brittle. Therefore, when a chicken rib cage needs to be cut through or chopped off, I reach for my trusty, THICK German knives. They won't chip, but I have the distinct impression that the Shun won't be able to survive the rough treatment without a chip.

                          1. re: RGC1982
                            Chemicalkinetics Feb 10, 2010 01:05 PM

                            RGC,

                            I have seen my Shun bread knife chipped. A bread knife and I weren't hacking a chicken or a bovine (it turned out it was easy to sharpen a VG-10 and the finished edge is sharpener than the factory edge). Shun VG-10 is very hard. Because it is hard, it can and has taken on a thin edge on a thin blade. I think if two knives are made from the same steel, same HRC, the thinner one will be more prone to chipping than the thicker one.

                            In short, I think Shun blade chips because of two things (1) the steel has strength but lack toughness (2) the blade and the edge are thin. So I agree with you. It is both the steel and geometry.

                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                              r
                              RGC1982 Feb 10, 2010 06:30 PM

                              Yes, I can see why both the steel and geometry are in play here. I guess I would say this: Sometimes, you just need a monster knife. In the Japanese knife world, that might be a Western Deba, which may come up to 4 mm thick. Don't know how the geometry affects this, but most people would use that knife to chop fish bones. I use my 8" Henkels Twin Pro for most tough things, but when the going gets really tough, I pull out the Wusthoff Classic cleaver. That monster can go through king crab joints and racks of ribs without fear.

                              1. re: RGC1982
                                Chemicalkinetics Feb 10, 2010 06:49 PM

                                RGC,

                                Don't mean to lecture. I saw my Shun knife chipped and I wonder what contribute more to its chipping, the steel property or the blade geometry. I have a $10 bone cleaver. I have only tested it with bamboo chopsticks. It was fun.

                        2. SanseiDesigns Jan 16, 2007 01:58 AM

                          The workhorse of my toolbox is a 10" Wusthoff Classic chef's. I also use my Wusthoff boning knife a lot (I serve my poultry meals as boneless roasts most of the time). A good paring knife is a must - Wusthoff, Global and Mac are my favourites. For my fine knife work I like Mac. In addition, Mac makes a ceramic steel that keeps an unbelievably sharp edge to a knife. The Mac blade is thinner for the delicate Japanese cuts and is great for slicing sashimi and makisushi. A Santoku would be a great utility knife to accompany a chef's 10".

                          1. b
                            BillK Jan 16, 2007 02:06 AM

                            I have all Wusthof Classics - 2 paring, boning, bread, carving and chef's knives. I have had them for 15 years and would never part with them. If you have a Williams-Sonoma nearby (who doesn't) you should be able to see them all including the Henckels to see how they feel. They have an 8 piece starter set for $300. Might be good to look at.

                            1. j
                              jkt Jan 16, 2007 03:37 AM

                              I recently picked up the Shun Elite santoku and the Shun Classic utility knife. Both are beautiful knives to use, extremely sharp and a very comfortable grip.

                              Depending on where you live, you should test out or at least handle the knives. Getting a few knives for the money is worth it, you'll use the good ones for years.

                              1. f
                                flatline Jan 17, 2007 01:18 AM

                                Soypower:

                                Avoid the Henckles, I've not been terribly pleased with their knives and the Twin Select line is overpriced for what it is. Forchiner/Victronoix (availible at a restaurant supply store) is a much better value in a stamped blade.

                                I happen to really like the Shun knives, I think they are some of the finest knives I've had the pleasure of cutting with. Do be warned that if you are left handed there are only a couple of their models availible in a left-hand version.

                                I also love the Wusthoff Classic (same as the Grand Prix but with a full tang and traditional handles) line. A majority of my knives are Wusthoff, and I have no complaints though I like the Shun knives just a little bit better.

                                I hate the handles on the Global knives. They're hard for me to hold when wet and oily. I'm told the blades are among the best though.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: flatline
                                  d
                                  dotMac Feb 9, 2007 08:23 AM

                                  I'm actually a huge Forchiner fan. They're amazingly sharp (though the factory edge is a tad dull) and sturdy. And they're so cheap that I never worry about them.

                                  Oh, and those Fibrox handles are very comfortable to me.

                                2. n
                                  ngardet Jan 18, 2007 08:29 PM

                                  I have 3 global knives and really like them. The balance, sharpness, shape and weight are excellent. Cleaning is very easy too. But it is true the handle is a bit strange at first so make sure to try it first. Global is very popular in the industry.

                                  1. n
                                    NickM Jan 19, 2007 01:41 AM

                                    Over the years, I've used Wusthof Classic with consistently good results. The Shun is a great knife, but I find that, oddly enough, the Wusthof Classic (NOT the Grand Prix) sits so well in my (Asian) hand than does the Shun. I have never found the Henckels to be of comparable quality to the Wusthof. Global makes one commendably sharp knife, but I've never felt secure using the handle. I absolutely concur with all those who've suggested trying out the knives before you buy: it's such an individual decision. (Another good reason to visit the kitchens of some other "hounds"...)

                                    1. s
                                      Sam Harmon Jan 19, 2007 04:01 PM

                                      I'll second the Wusthof versus Henckels conclusions. I have all Wusthof Classic knives and love them. My lone Henckels is a 6" Utility Knife (Henckel's Proffesional S) that was on clearance at SLT ($30 for it and a pair of poultry shears). It's a good knife, but the feel and edge are not up to the level of any of my Wusthofs. Considering that they're the same price, I don't know why anyone would choose Henckels over Wusthof.

                                      1. b
                                        blee27 Jan 20, 2007 04:54 AM

                                        I just got a set of Globals as a christmas gift and while I highly recommend them to anyone for both their edge, balance, looks, weight, etc. I would still recommend picking up the said knife before you buy it. The Global handle looks and feels a lot different than any other knife you've ever held and well in my case (smaller hands) fits wonderfully and depending on the global series you purchase won't have that triangular shape to it. i.e. my chef's knife has a normal shaped grip to it rather than the triangular one. I did a lot of research before I decided on buying the Global's and I don't regret it at all. Plus they are beautiful in the kitchen! Hope that helps.

                                        1. soypower Jan 23, 2007 07:42 PM

                                          I just got my set of Shun Stainless knives. OHMIGOD i love them soo much! :o) thanks for everyeone's recommendations and advice, it was invaluable. :o)

                                          And btw, my knives came with a sharpening steel. These knives are soo beautiful, I'm afraid to use it. Does anyone have a guide to this including how to and how often?

                                          thanks.

                                          6 Replies
                                          1. re: soypower
                                            w
                                            will47 Jan 23, 2007 10:20 PM

                                            See: http://www.cutlery.com/sharp.shtml
                                            Note, though, that you want a tighter angle on the Shuns... probably around 12-15 degrees (vs. 20ish for a standard knife). I believe the Shun steel has a guide to show you the right angle.

                                            A "sharpening" steel doesn't actually sharpen your blade - it just hones it. Generally, you should hone your knives each time you use them. The number of times depends on what kind of steel and how hard your knives are - a diamond or ceramic steel will be less times across the steel (maybe 1-3). If it's a standard steel (I think the Shun one is), try 6 on each side, then 3 on each side, then 2, then 1.

                                            If you have a friend who knows how to use one, maybe get them to show you how.

                                            If you don't want to mess with using a whetstone to sharpen it, take it and get it professionally sharpened once a year or so.

                                            1. re: will47
                                              r
                                              rbluvsfood Feb 10, 2010 11:00 AM

                                              If I purchase as Shun knife/knives will I need a Whetstone to sharpen? Is this best? Or is the diamond or ceramic steel better? As you can see I am very confused by the way to sharpen the Japenese knives. I only know Wustoff way to sharpen which is using a steel back and forth........ideas?

                                              1. re: rbluvsfood
                                                w
                                                will47 Feb 10, 2010 11:08 AM

                                                For the most part, a steel isn't used to sharpen the knife, only to hone the edge -- this is true for German knives as well as Japanese. Honing just brings the edge back in line, but doesn't remove any metal. The knife may seem "sharper", but honing is not the same thing as sharpening.

                                                The ceramic or diamond steels *will* take off a little metal - see:
                                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/476266
                                                but still, I wouldn't consider them a substitute for proper sharpening.

                                                Again, for *sharpening* (not honing), I would recommend the same approach (either use whetstones, or hire a professional) no matter which kind of knife you get. The German knives may still be a little easier to put an edge on for the reasons I mentioned, but they won't keep the edge as long, though.

                                                I think using an ultrafine whetstone or a strop is probably the better way to hone a Japanese knife, but I am by no means an expert. Global recommends using the diamond steel with their knives, but I think some would argue with that recommendation. Just keep in mind that with a really acute angle (and knives with asymmetric bevels), it may be hard to keep the angle consistent with the steel - that's one reason that a stone is easier.

                                                If it all sounds like too much trouble, get a Messermeister, use a standard honing steel regularly, *and* have your knife sharpened professionally on an occasional basis.

                                                I've used the Shun knives, and they're not bad, but I would recommend one of the other brands I mentioned in the other post above if you want to spend that much. The one really positive thing I will say about the Shuns is that if you're right-handed, the handle is very comfortable. But I think the less "flashy" / more professional Japanese steel is a better bet.

                                                1. re: rbluvsfood
                                                  Chemicalkinetics Feb 10, 2010 11:28 AM

                                                  Using a steel back and forth is call "honing" not "sharpening". If you force a steel to sharpen your knives, then you are actually ruining the knives. That largely explains why your German knives are not working well. I hate to say this, but you probably don't know your Wusthof knives as well as you think.

                                                  You should learn about sharpening if you want to get good knives. There is really no point of getting good knives if you don't have a mean to maintain them. A $300 knife is no better than a $30 knife in a year, if you don't sharpen them. The other advantage of Shun is that there is free knife sharpening service.

                                              2. re: soypower
                                                c
                                                chuckl Nov 25, 2007 11:36 AM

                                                you'll want to use a steeper angle with the shun than with other knives. put the tip of the steel on a surface where it won't slip then lightly drag the blade down the length of the rod alternating sides at about 12-15 degrees. Do it every time you use your knives. About 6 strokes per side should do it

                                                1. re: soypower
                                                  r
                                                  rbluvsfood Feb 10, 2010 10:52 AM

                                                  Can you let me know where you purchased these knives and how much you paid for the set? Oh and which type of set you got.......Elite, Classic? Thanks

                                                2. g
                                                  gordonw Jan 24, 2007 06:47 AM

                                                  Yes the Shun steel has an angled flat spot at the handle you can rest your knife to give you the proper angle.
                                                  Heres a link that shows a video on honing and sharpening for both western and japanese blades.

                                                  http://www.dfw.com/mld/dfw/news/news_to_use/16029197.htm

                                                  Try this link if first one fails,

                                                  http://web.mac.com/swilson/iWeb/Site/...

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: gordonw
                                                    soypower Jan 24, 2007 07:15 AM

                                                    that was incredibly helpful..thankyouverymuch!! :o)

                                                  2. Withnail42 Jan 24, 2007 06:49 AM

                                                    Untimely it should come down to what feels most comfortable in your hand. Go to a store a see how they all feel.

                                                    1. NovoCuisine Jan 24, 2007 12:23 PM

                                                      I was given a Henckles Twin Select this past Christmas. It is definitely sharper and more professional than anything I've owned before; felt pretty fabulous in my grip; and that is because it is my first "real" knife.

                                                      I was quite pleased with it until I saw a Global knife at a store the other day and picked it up. It felt perfect in my hand. I am coveting a Global now.. I just can't tell the gift giver.

                                                      1. e
                                                        EclecticEater Jan 24, 2007 01:10 PM

                                                        Bought a Shun. Love it. Sharpest knife I've owned. Globals are probably in the same arena. For now, forget the conventional Wustoff-Henckle-etc. The Forsters I have are their equivalents and much less expensive if you're into that type of knife.

                                                        1. b
                                                          billmarsano Jan 27, 2007 08:22 AM

                                                          Soypower, you are getting tons of great advice, to which I add:
                                                          1. If big restaurant-supply stores are accessible, visit them. You can get good guidance and may get a better deal--after all, consumer shops aim at consumers, many of whom are susceptible to clever salesmanship and good looks. Restaurant suppliers cater to pros, who are mainly interested in results.
                                                          2. Don't buy a set? Right.
                                                          3. Use a steel? Yes; three strokes a side EVERY TIME and you'll get great service for a long time. However, the steels sold to consumers are crap so far as i'm concerned--oly 10-in long and really crude. Go to a restaurant supply and get a fine-grained 12incher. THEODORE: pls weigh in on steel and the very-hard Shuns abnd Rockwells Do they work/ Special steels needed?

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: billmarsano
                                                            w
                                                            will47 Jan 28, 2007 12:12 AM

                                                            re: special steels -- I believe the Shun branded steel is a pretty standard one, and I think you can use a standard steel. Global recommends the ceramic or diamond ones for their knives.

                                                            The diamond and ceramic ones require less swipes, however I've heard they also remove a bit more metal and that they should be used carefully.

                                                            I think a very fine whetstone would probably be the best for honing hard Japanese knives.

                                                            1. re: billmarsano
                                                              t
                                                              Theodore Feb 2, 2007 05:18 AM

                                                              Billmarsano,
                                                              Responding to your request. Shun and most Asian knives measure out at a Rockwell hardness of 60-62. This doesn't look like a big difference compared to most Western brands which come in at 55-57, but the scale is logarithmic. Anyone who has sharpened both can tell you the difference in huge. We've done high powered optical analysis on the effect of a traditional steel on a Western blade and have the images to show that it works by realigning the edge, but we haven't done it on Asian knives. Theoretically it should work the same but we haven't done the work yet to substantiate it. Thanks for asking.

                                                            2. StuartHMB Jan 27, 2007 04:40 PM

                                                              At my shop I sell Wusthoff, Henckles, Global and Shun. But when a customer asks me which they should get, I let them hold and use the knives on a board, becasue the most important thing in my opinion is the feel of the knife in your hand as far as weight and making sure the handle is comfortable for you. All the knives you listed are very good quality, so you have that part taken care of. Don't shop anywhere they won't take the time to figure out your needs and let you play with the knives.

                                                              1. k
                                                                KRS Jan 30, 2007 01:24 PM

                                                                Messermeister knives are the equivalent of Henkel and Wusthoff, but you don't pay for the name. Also, the bolster (the swelled part at the junction of the blade and the handle) goes all the way down to the edge on Henkel and Wusthoff, making sharpening difficult. The Messermeister bolster ends 2/3 of the way down the blade.

                                                                For me, the best mix of price and quality in Japanese knives is Misono. http://www.japanesechefsknife.com/MIS...

                                                                For any chef's knife, the quality check is that the arc of the edge continues all the way back. There's nothing harder on your hands than rocking the knife to chop something and having the blade bang down on the cutting board. I rejected the super-fancy, super-pricy Ken Onion chef's knife for this reason alone.

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: KRS
                                                                  r
                                                                  rbluvsfood Feb 10, 2010 11:15 AM

                                                                  Very nice demonstration on how to sharpen a Japanese knife using a Whet Stone and all the differing grits.......from 1000, 500, 200. Good stuff to know.

                                                                2. Karl S Jan 30, 2007 02:43 PM

                                                                  Let me echo the idea of avoiding sets. Choose the best knife for each task: chef or santoku knife, boning knife (should be capable of keeping wicked sharp, be flexible and properly shaped; there are lots of crappy boning knives out there), paring knife, cleaver (two types: Chinese and European - the latter is heavy and for hacking through moderate bones -- don't do that with an ordinary Chinese cleaver unless you want to ruin it), heavy poultry shears (indispensible).

                                                                  1. detzelpretzel Feb 8, 2007 05:49 PM

                                                                    I just purchased a Shun 8" Chef's Knife today and I am stunned at the quality! I had to find a store to try it in my hand and I've never felt a more comfortable knife. I also own a quality set of Henkles and I must say, this Shun will be used 95% of the time.

                                                                    You should have seen me come home from the store all stupid like and cut up everything in the fridge.

                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                    1. re: detzelpretzel
                                                                      soypower Feb 9, 2007 01:11 AM

                                                                      that's exactly what i did when i got mine! every time i walk by the knife block, i can't resist the urge to pull one of them out and hear the sound it makes! i wish i had bought these years and years ago.

                                                                      1. re: detzelpretzel
                                                                        r
                                                                        rbluvsfood Feb 10, 2010 11:19 AM

                                                                        After reading all the comments I have officially thrown away all my Henckel's and other junk chef knives...well given them to friends. I can't wait to begin my quest of finding the perfect knife. Shun is at the top of my list, followed closely by Global and one or two other knives.

                                                                        1. re: rbluvsfood
                                                                          Chemicalkinetics Feb 10, 2010 11:30 AM

                                                                          Rbluvsfood,

                                                                          You don't need to throw away you Henckels, they are good knives, just not my type. Shun is pretty good. Global is even thinner, but I read a few compliants here and there. Tojiro is pretty good as well.

                                                                      2. gargantua Feb 10, 2007 02:41 PM

                                                                        Call me old school but I really don't care for stainless kitchen knives. In my opinion they cannot be properly sharpened at home. High carbon steel will darken (and rust if not looked after) but is unmatched in edge and edge retention.

                                                                        Kramer makes a beautiful knife, a little pricey but far superior to the mass produced Henkel etc. works of art and sharper than anything else I have ever seen

                                                                        http://kramerknives.com/kramer_knives...

                                                                        1. gargantua Feb 10, 2007 02:44 PM

                                                                          I almost forgot the best part, Kramer will sharpen most edged tools, knives, scissors etc at riduculously reasonable rates. After a couple of years of heavy use and steeling even good knives need to be ground out and reedged.

                                                                          1. f
                                                                            fancycook1 Mar 2, 2007 03:15 PM

                                                                            Henckels that are forged are basicly the same knife from the blade up. Its all about handle feel. Henckels uses a different steel and hardening process then Wusthof. The Asian or Eastern( Shun, Global) knives have a different edge angle then the Western knife lines (Henckels & Wusthof). If you realy like the Asian angle Henckels makes a line that is harder and sharper then Shun and Global. They have only been in the market place about a year. They are called Twin Cermax. They have a Rockwell rating of 66.

                                                                            The best way to buy cutlery is to, try them all out. All knives feel different.

                                                                            1. knifeguy Nov 24, 2007 10:13 PM

                                                                              Easy. Of those choices get the Shuns. In kitchen knives one wants 1)prolonged edge retention 2) capability of extreme sharpness 3) ease of resharpening. The Shun wins in all of these categories. The core steel (VG10) is hardened to 60:62 Rockwell the others are 56:58. The extra hardness will aide in edge retention. Harder steel also enables sharpening to a shallower angle with max edge retention. 15 degrees for the Shun. Ease in resharpenign goes to the Mac because it is a stamped and laminated, not forged blade. But since it is stamped will need more re-honing. The Shun (and Mac) are the only laminated blades. This mean that the blade is made of 3 or more layers of forge welded steel. A very hard central core sandwiched between soft outer layers. This means that when you re-sharpen the knife most of the steel you are removing is the soft cladding, and you are only removing a small amount of hard steel. Soft steel is harder to sharpen away.

                                                                              Now, these are not the only blades available on the market. If you have a good knife dealer in your area (This harder to find than one would think. Most knife retailers know nothing or next too about knives) he/she should be able to help you out. There are many brands I would prefer. My Artisan knife perfoms like no other and I have many knives.

                                                                              1. chefcolin Nov 25, 2007 04:45 PM

                                                                                I have had 2 mac knives and I am still working with one in a professional kitchen with a broken tip and still live and die by it. www.cutleryandmore.com usually has a pretty good price on them. Get MBK series I think they are called professional. Only thing is the blade is reallyu thin which is good for cutting but beats the hell out of your hands. If you want Japanese which I also recomend because they are not stainless, although Mac's are a blend, check out www.korin.com. Any knife fan will drool over these traditional Japanese and western style knives. They range from around $100 to $10,000 so be careful. Good luck. Also, How many knives do you need. I prefer, 1 chef, 1 pairing, and 1 slicer. Maybe a good boning or bread.

                                                                                1. r
                                                                                  rerem Dec 18, 2007 07:30 PM

                                                                                  The Shun and Global knives are great blades and nice looking....heck....all those are. However...how you sharpen can male a lot of difference. In restaurants,institutional kitchens,the workhorses are typically the Forschner 10" stamped knife. The one I got LONG ago was virtually the same as the current unit except now you can get the same rosewood handle or for less $ the comfy but un-pretty Fibrox. For home use an 8" version is available. Using a Norton triple stone (standard in a restaurant kitchen) I could get a keener edge on it than on any of the higher priced forged knives. I guess I had a fetish about sharpening,but once I got it right,a minute on the Nortan's Arkansas stone and proper full-stroke steeling and it was razor sharp. I could drop a cherry tomato and cut it clean in mid air. Good luck getting any blade sharper than that.

                                                                                  From what I hsve seen,a Shun or Global CAN get that sharp----but it's gonna take twice as long to redo the edge..at least it holds a bit longer. The lighter,harder Japanese knives can be a bit more prone to damage. Hard can = brittle. you can chip some of these fancy knives...while the good ol' Forschner can get dropped on the floor..get used like a cleaver,can hold up to 6 hours a day of volume use,5 days a week,for a decade.

                                                                                  The best German forged knives will last longer-like-longer than any of us probably,but in a commercial kitchen...I don't wan't that extra weight in my hand all day. So....I'd skip the "set" get a 8" Forschner stamped Chef and a Shun or Global Santuko for the light duty veggies. You can get a small paring by Forschner or Wusthoff and that's all you need. Forschner also makes good Boning Knives and the thinner ones double as fillet knives.....low $

                                                                                  So...you spent less on the Knives than you thought....now spend MORE on a good whetstone than you expected. You want a pretty good size Hard ARKANSAS,Norton's are good and a corser carburundum. Carburundums are cheap. A 10" Arkansas can be at LEAST $80. Get a decent steel,at least 2" longer than your blade. Learn to stroke FULL LENGTH....not that one handed back and forth junk. Use each hand keep the angle the same from butt to tip. Look for a smooth steel. Pro cooks will often use the backside of another knife as a steel....it works if you have the right anle.

                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: rerem
                                                                                    b
                                                                                    Beowulf Dec 23, 2007 03:26 AM

                                                                                    You make some valid points, although I have to disagree with recommending Arkansas stones. Oil stones are vastly inferior to waterstones, either natural or synthetic. The only thing that keeps them in commercial kitchens is inertia. It's been demonstrated in commercial settings (and verified under high magnification) that the swarf gets suspended in the oil creating a slurry that actually dulls the edge vs being used dry. Waterstones are better still. Coarse waterstones cut even faster than diamonds, although they wear more quickly.

                                                                                    Btw, I'd like to see you get a Forschner sharper than a Japanese knife of Rockwell 65 that was sharpened on waterstones! And if by chance you get it that sharp, you'll count the number of cuts before it's subjectively "dull" again! That said, I agree that the Fibrox line is a heckuva deal. They'll take a good edge and hold it thru a lot of use, provided you keep the bevel angle realistic. You can't expect steel that soft to hold a 15 degree bevel thru hard use.

                                                                                    And I myself have "steeled" a knife, in extremis, on the back of another knife- busted!

                                                                                    1. re: rerem
                                                                                      c
                                                                                      cacruden Feb 8, 2008 09:02 AM

                                                                                      I will give some feedback on my new knives in a few weeks (after I get a new knife block and reorganize the kitchen a little). I bought some global pro knives (only sold in Japan) -- and just getting back - I have only tested the cooking knife out -- but it is the sharpest knife I have ever had (currently I have a Henckels - mid-range Chef knife I believe - not the highest anyways - I don't have it in front of me right now). I just tested in on a lime, but it went through it like it was butter. They recommend sharpening it with a whetstone, so I will have to learn that skill - or have it professionally sharpened.

                                                                                      I got the cooking knife (24cm), paring knife, petty knife, and boning knife.

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

                                                                                    2. c
                                                                                      chazzerking Dec 18, 2007 07:57 PM

                                                                                      Call me luddite, but I like my carbon steel Sabatiers, and my indulgence, my Bob Kramer. They may not stay sharp for very long, but with a few strokes, I can get them to a razor's edge. I also like the balance and feel of them. I have a japanese Santoku that is very nice, but my 10" sab chef's knife is hard to beat for all purpose work.

                                                                                      1. j
                                                                                        jonesm4 Feb 6, 2008 12:34 PM

                                                                                        Most chef's are fiercely devoted to their knives but are far from consensus on which are the best. Choosing a knife or knives is a very personal experience. That being said I've owned Wusthoffs, Henckels and Globals but I recently bought the Shuns and they're by far the best knives I've ever owned. If you're serious about your cutlery, and it appears you are, I'd recommend going to a a retailer that carries the knives you're interesetd in and handling them all. Once you decide on which to purchase, proper care is extremely important, I use my 8 inch chef's knife everyday at home, never put it in a dishwasher and hone it on a honing steel every couple of weeks. It performs beautifully.

                                                                                        1. k
                                                                                          Knife Novice Oct 29, 2008 11:06 AM

                                                                                          The November 2005 issue of Consumer Reports recommends the Henckels Twin Select, Henckels Twin Professional S, Wusthof Culinar, & Wusthof Trident Classic in descending order of preference. The two Henckels lines use the same blade; the only difference is in the handle. The same can be said of the two Wusthof lines. If you need to save money and the handles are okay with you, get the Henckels Pro 'S' or the Wusthof Classic.

                                                                                          Another interesting knife in this same top leage would be the Henckels Twin Cuisine, with the same blade as the other Henckels knives above, but with an ergonomic, polyprolene handle AND a full (horizontal) tang. Because of its unique horizontal tang, the Twin Cuisine is the only current Henckels knife that is made using the traditional "hot drop-forging" process, where the entire steel blank is heated to high temperatures before being moulded into the knife shape. The Twin Cuisine knife is heavier than the Twin Professional. Try before you buy.

                                                                                          Other than the Twin Cuisine, all of the forged Henckels Twin knives are made using a newer forging process where the only part of the steel blank that is heated up before moulding is the bolster. Some (or maybe all) of the Wusthof forged knives are also made using this newer forging process.

                                                                                          It should be noted that Consumer Search gave top ranks to the Shun Classic santoku knife, while Consumer Reports did NOT give top ranks to the Western-style knifes in the Shun Classic line. Consumer Reports observed that the Shun knives had excellent cutting abilities, but they were no better than the top-ranked Henckels and Wusthof knives,.and the Shun handles were very good, but not as good as the top-ranked Henckels and Wusthof handles. It should also be noted that Shun knives cost more than their Henckels and Wusthof rivals.

                                                                                          By the way, I asked what the chefs at my favorite local French restaurant used. (The chefs buy their own knives, by the way.) Most of them used Henckels knives, with Wusthof coming in a distant second. When I asked why, they said that Henckels knives didn't stain or discolor as much as Wusthof knives.

                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: Knife Novice
                                                                                            w
                                                                                            wustof Feb 24, 2009 04:19 PM

                                                                                            I am also thinking about purchasing a Shun chinese chef knife but it is very expensive in australia. also looking at Wusthof cleaver. I own Wusthof classic but my next knife will have a shorter blade. Also I dont like henkels knifes bought a paring knife they have gone downhill in recent years but thats my opion I guess.

                                                                                            1. re: wustof
                                                                                              c
                                                                                              chuckl Feb 24, 2009 07:07 PM

                                                                                              also consider Messermeister elite, which I think is better than Henckles or Wusthof

                                                                                          2. s
                                                                                            stalkingwine.com Nov 4, 2009 10:05 PM

                                                                                            Do NOT let anyone tell you which series is better. It's all about how they feel in your hand...small differences matter, so go try them out yourself.

                                                                                            That said, I despise sets. In a set of 8, there will always be 3-4 that get no play. I have a mix and match set where each knife in my block is picked for the task. N=5 knives. Wusthof GP, Forschner (meat cutting), Cut Brooklyn.

                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                            1. re: stalkingwine.com
                                                                                              s
                                                                                              sarge Feb 10, 2010 04:27 PM

                                                                                              For what it's worth, I bought a 7" Shun Ken Onion today at Williams Sonoma for $139.95. Most of their Shun's were on sale 25% to 40% off. I haven't used it yet, but I liked the way it felt

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