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Steak Knives: Serrated vs. straight edge

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Hi, i'm looking for steak knives as a gift for my parents for Christmas. It seems all the good knives are straight edge. I assumed that serrated would be superior for steak but if these good brands are all straight it must be effective? Do they need to be sharpened often?

I need a set of 4 (6 is ok) for around $60

I've look at the Forschner, Henckels, and also a couple models from Chicago Cutlery (haven't seen this brand before, are they any good?)

My options are a bit limited as i'm in Canada so i can't order form the US. If anyone can answer my straight-edge question i'd appreciate it, and maybe tell me where to get Forschner in Canada?

Thanks!

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  1. In general, the straight edge will cut better than a serrated edge (only talking about steak knives here, bread and slicers are a different story).

    The downside is, a plate is a horrible cutting surface. You'll definitely want to hone the edges of straight knives every time before setting the table (as in use a 'steel' on them), as the hard surface of a plate will turn the edge of a straight knife. You probably won't need to sharpen them more than once every few years unless the knives are used very often.

    Serrated knives don't have that edge turning problem. Or rather they do, but only on the tips, not in the valleys, and thus are somewhat 'maintenance free'.

    The straight edge cuts better though, because there's more sharp edge in contact with the food being cut, plus you're 'separating' the meat, not 'sawing' it.

    That said, stay away from the lower end Henckels (the ones with only one 'man' in the logo).

    1. Henckels has 4-1/2 inch steeak knives with both a sharp and serrated edge. I have some and they work fine. Where I live, I can find them on the Web. If your government tells you what cookware you can use and what you can't, I'd say a howling protest is in order.

      1 Reply
      1. re: mpalmer6c

        It's not the government telling them what cookware to use, it's the ridiculous and lopsided import/export taxes and rules between Canada and the USA. Anything over $20 and Canadians have to pay an import duty, and shipping methods which involve brokerage or expediting delivery (so it takes less than 2 to 3 weeks to get through customs) cost upwards of $50 for the recipient.

      2. America's Test Kitchen recently tested steak knives on an episode. While the highest rates ones are on the expensive side, they did give good marks to Chicago Cutlery's Walnut Tradition line at a price of $40 for a set of four.

        1. Thanks for your help everyone!

          I think i am going to pick up these by Chicago Cutlery: http://www.knifezone.ca/misc/walnutst... (That's a great online store for anyone in Canada BTW

          )

          Also i've read here that the Forschner 8" chef knife is a good value so i think i'll go for that too! Here's to sharp knives.

          1 Reply
          1. re: porcelainduck

            those look good, I've had a number of chicago cutlery knives over the years and they've held up well. Cant go wrong with forschner either.

          2. Chicago Cutlery's Kyoto line is inexpensive and pretty nice. They're a shameless Shun knockoff in appearance, with Pakkawood handles, identical end caps and very similar trade dress. Obviously they fall far short in the steel department but they're shaving sharp out of the box. I'm not sure if they're available in Canda, but if so they're very attractive and cut very well. The US price is about $50 USD for a pack of 4.

            Btw, I hate serrated knives for anything but bread. Still, if you're gonna use glass or ceramic plates, your knives will take a beating. But unless you eat steak for every meal I'll live with maintaining the blades periodically.