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Feb 2, 2007 06:56 AM

I'm buying a good knife: 8-in chef or santoku???

I have some Christmas money to spend and I decided to buy a good knife. I've been looking at Henkel's Professional line and am wondering which, if you had to choose between them is better... The 8-in chef or the 8-in santoku? They are both about the same price and I'm a bit puzzled as to what they do differently (apart from the fact that one is significantly heavier and the other has "aeration" dimples on its blade).

Also, in order to keep these as sharp as possible, I'm wondering what are my best options:

1. a sharpener (like Henkel's) AND a honing stick made of brushed steel
2. a sharpener and a diamond-encrusted honing steel
3. just a diamond-encrusted honing steel
4. something else?

thanks for telling me what works best for you!


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  1. You must simply get the knives in your hand to get the feel for them. No amount of advice will tell you more than what your body will know by holding them.

    You need more than a steel to sharpen knives. I use a simple two-sided stone to start and a steel to finish.

    1. I agree with Snackfish. I bought both the chef and santoku, and, for my money, the chef wins hands down (Wurstof Classic)

      1. The dimples are not related to the knife shape, you can get a santoku with or without them. I prefer without, but it's up to you.

        I tend to reach for my santoku more because I like the wider blade for scooping up ingredients off the cutting board, and because my 6.5" santoku is much shorter and more maneuverable than my 10" chef's. The chef's knife has a much pointier tip, which is handy for It's really all personal preference, whichever knife feels best in your hand is the one you should buy. Try to find a store that will let you take them out of the case and test them out on a cutting board and get the one that feels best to you.

        As far as sharpening, I would get a steel to hone them between sharpenings, and leave the sharpening to the professionals.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Buckethead

          Those "dimples" are useless. They're supposed to help prevent whatever you're slicing from sticking to the blade. But they don't work at all. I have a Wustoff santoku with those dimples and love love the knife; paid a little bit more for those indentations, which was a little bit more than I needed to pay.
          I find the santoku more versatile than all of my chef's knives.

          1. re: slacker

            I agree - I was given a Shun Classic Santoku for Christmas, and it has the dimples. It doesn't "shed" the chopped items any better than a knife without the dimples.

            For the OP, I agree with Snackish as well - go to the store and feel the knife in your hand - weight, balance, etc. I have the Professional S Henckel's, and for my money, I always reach for the Santoku over the Chef's knife now.

        2. I purchased a Paderno santoku knife, good quality, light. but DO NOT use for anything other than chopping easy veg onions, garlic & herbs. I made the mistake at xmas due to all my knives being currently used & chopped a turnip with it. It cracked the blade, so warning be gentle with your santoku knife.

          1. I have a number of knives - mostly Henkles - and ever since I got the santoku, that is the one I use 90% of the time. I love it!