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Mar 11, 2007 09:27 AM

best carving knife?

I'm in the market for a good carving set - knife & fork. I don't have one yet. I know to look for a high-carbon stainless steel blade, and I prefer non-metallic handles. But what brands, models, manufacturers or stores would you suggest? Wusthof? Shun? Global? Mac? Calphalon? Do you like a granton edge or straight? 8" or 9 or 10"? I'd be using this mainly to cut big roasts & other meats.

Help me wade through all the info out there!

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  1. Granton edges were originally designed by the Granton company in Sheffield for this express purpose -- making a knife slide cleanly through roasts, hams, and such. So for once the little scallops may be justified. I would certainly prefer not to have a slippery metal handle in my grasp while working on the tenth or twentieth slice of a big roast, as well.

    That said, the size of your roasts and of your hands is likely to determine what suits you best. You can't carve a huge rib roast very easily with an 8" carving knife, while a 14" granton slicer is going to be massive overkill for the occasional Christmas turkey (and will probably lop off a finger at some point due to its wiggly blade).

    Go to somewhere like Sur La Table and try out all the ones that appeal to you, then look at the prices on the ones you prefer, keeping in mind the size of roast you plan to carve. Or, if you don't live near a yuppie magnet like that, but do live near a well-established butcher, ask them.

    My father settled on an old-style Forschner scimitar knife for this purpose. You never know until you try a bunch of different knives what will tickle your fancy.

    1. my modest take is that most quality knives are similar. knife maintenance, however, makes a huge difference. find some steel that works for you, then maintain it to a high order.

      1. It's likely you are having a problem choosing because there is so little information out there. Because there is no definition for the word "sharp" all knife makers make the same claim. Some even claim their knives stay sharp forever and because there isn't any definition of sharp, they can't be sued when the knife inevitably gets "dull."

        What you want for a carving knife is a bolsterless design which you will find in any knife from Shun, Global or Messermeister. You don't want a granton-edge knife. Because your carving knife might last a lifetime, the important issue becomes how easy it is to sharpen. Knives with bolsters extending to the edge of the blade make home sharpening very difficult. I'd avoid the granton-edge option because the blade shrinks a tiny bit every time it is sharpened and eventually the edge will migrate up to the scalloped section at which point you will have a very funky weird edge. Shun, Global and Messermeister are the way to go.

        1. I recently got an 8-inch Global carver that is the best knife I've ever owned. With my old 10-inch knife, I always had to clear stuff out of the way so I wouldn't knock anything over. I'm not sure Global makes any wooden-handled knives, though. The ones pictured on the Web appear to be all-metal. I haven't had any trouble with the handle getting slippery.

          1. Here's a good article in comparing carving sets ranging in price from $20 to $975.