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Help Me Buy A Carving Knife Please

Hi all,
I'm no Chef and neither is my husband but for a long time now he has been looking for a 'good' carving knife. His birthday is coming up and as part of his gift I would like to get him knife.
The problem I have is that I live in Ireland a long way away from anywhere I can try out knives so I'm going to have to buy online.
I know he prefers a thin bladed knife and wants to use it for carving everyday roasts, chickens etc. as well as that Christmas turkey. I want something that will last but I know he won't want to nor have the time for taking the care of the knife that a lot of you do on here (sorry!).
Any help that you can provide is much appreciated!

On a side note - if I can get a carving knife at a fairly reasonable price I might even be tempted to buy a nife for peeling / chopping vegetables - any recommendations there?

Thanks again and I hope I haven't offended anyone with my very very basic questions / comments :-)

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  1. I'd look closely at the Mac SB-105 from the superior series. They usually sell for around $70 in the US.

    http://www.macknife.com/superior.html

    1. My personal favorite line of knives is Eberhard Schaaf, a.k.a. Solicut, one of the smaller Solingen knife makers, http://www.knivesandtools.com/en/ct/g... They have a heft-with-balance that I have found in no other. We have the "First Class" series with the black nylon inlays.

      The feel of any knife in the hand is a matter of personal preference, however, and the very qualities that one person may prize may be off-putting to another.

      1. forschners are thin, relatively lightweight and very good quality. A lot of people rate them very highly. They do make a carving knife, but I think their chef's knife, maybe an 8- 9- or 10-inch could easily double as a carving knife. Amazon has the 8-inch for a very good price

        http://www.amazon.com/Victorinox-Cutl...

        here's a carving knife

        http://www.amazon.com/Victorinox-Cutl...

        you could buy both for less than $50 and use the chef's for chopping too

        3 Replies
        1. re: chuckl

          chuck1, I do not disagree about Forschner quality, and here in the United States, Forschners are bargains, but OnlyMe wrote that she lives in Ireland, and I suspect that she will get better value for an EU product.

          1. re: Politeness

            you are entirely correct, Politeness, I checked on amazon uk, and the same chef's knife that goes for $14 in the us of a costs more than 20 pounds in the UK. Curious, since they are made in switzerland, but I suppose there must be some sort of market forces at work.

            1. re: chuckl

              Uh, yes, Forschner is Victorinox which is Swiss, a lot closer to the EU than we are (Victorinox is the original maker of swiss army knives). The current Amazon price of $14 is a loss leader and probably won't last too long, but who knows.... Amazon has some very strange pricing policies, which you will begin to see if you start to follow their prices over a certain time period--HDTV's are a particular case in point, but I've seen their knife prices fluctuate widely as well. The UK price of L20 sounds like a fairly reasonable price for that knife, and seems a lot closer to a "normal" price for that item.

              Pricing bears at best a passing relationship to cost.

              BTW Victorinox has dropped the Forschner name--it will disappear as stocks are sold off--the same knives will be known only as Victorinox going forward.

        2. The Glestain works better than anything else I've ever tried. I'm not crazy about their other knives, but they make the ultimate slicer.

          http://www.japanesechefsknife.com/Sli...

          1. better ask him specifically otherwise it may be a bad idea.

            1. I bought this Forschner for slicing brisket -- and it cuts through it like butter -- but it's also perfect for turkey. Sharpens easily and cuts with next to no effort (will go through your finger as well, so be careful).

              http://www.amazon.com/Victorinox-Cutl...

              12 Replies
              1. re: ferret

                Hi all,
                Apologies for not replying sooner, I've been having internet issues. I have just printed out all the responses and hope to go through them all in detail either tonight or tomorrow when I'm sure I will certainly have more questions :-)
                Anyways, I just wanted to check in and say thanks so much for the replies and suggestions thus far - they are all very much appreciated.
                And of course if anyone has and more advice / suggestions all comments are welcome :-)
                Thank you

                1. re: OnlyMe

                  I just lost a whole reply before I posted it :-(
                  Here goes again ... it won't be as long I'm afraid as I'm on borrowed time.

                  I really appreciat allof your replies and I have been looking at all your suggestions / recommendations online.
                  alanbarnes - Lovely knives but I'm afraid they're out of my league at the minute :-(
                  Politeness - I really like the look of the First Class knives ... especially the gorgeous carver set, and if I hadn't seen the VIctorinox I'd probably opt for them. The Victorinox however have taken my fancy and Ferret, your description of how sharp that slicer is has me convinced!

                  I have a few questions before I buy though and at the risk of sounding silly ... can anyone tell me what te difference between a chefs knife and a cooks knife is?
                  Also, why would you chose a round tipped slicer / carving knife over a pointed tipped or vice versa?

                  I'm considering buying these at the moment:
                  http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/A...
                  http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/A...
                  http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/A...

                  They're a fair bit more expensive than in the US but if we will finally have a few decent knives for prep / copping and carving I don't mind spending the money.

                  One last question- what about sharpening ... what about something like this one or does anyone have any other suggestions?
                  http://www.amazon.co.uk/Victorinox-Sh...
                  I don't want to ruin my nice new knives with the wrong tool!

                  Thanks again for everyones help an sorry I haven't replied to everyone individually on here (I had in my previou -lost -post).

                  1. re: OnlyMe

                    OnlyMe, you are reinforcing the point about personal choice in knives. The Victorinox is a fine knife line (our bread knife is Victorinox, and it is excellent), and the Eberhard Schaaf Goldhamster First Class line is also excellent, but -- speaking now only of the carving knife entries in each line -- in the hand they are as different as chalk and cheese. I think that any person who thought of one -- either one -- as "just right" would think of the other one as "completely wrong."

                    As for sharpening, you link to a steel, which, strictly speaking, is not a sharpening instrument. What a "sharpening" steel does is straighten out the kinks and waviness of the thin cutting edge of the knife (resulting from the use of the edge itself) so that the effective slicing edge is skinnier and the blade penetrates more easily; a true knife sharpener, on the other hand, grinds away some of the knife metal to create a new edge.

                    If you are looking for a sharpening steel, there is no need to stay with the same maker as the maker of the knives, and you will find a lot of strong sentiment that the finest steels come from Friedrick Dick (sometimes shortened to Friedr. Dick or F. Dick), especially the Dickeron Sapphire Oval and the Dick Flat steels: the Dick 2000 Super Fine Cut Flat and Dick Multicut Flat; Dick sets the standard that others must follow. Dick steels are made in Germany, but offhand I do not know who in the UK/EU sells them; here are a couple of U.S. sites that show them: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/7650428...
                    http://knifemerchant.com/productPictu...

                    1. re: OnlyMe

                      You do not want a cooks knife if your husband wants a carving knife. A cooks/chefs knife is a general use knife that has a thicker spine.
                      The difference between the round tip and the pointed curved tip is is that the rounded tip knife is a slicer and the pointed tip with a slight curve is a carving knife.
                      The round tip slicer is great for cutting prime rib and turkey but does not function as well (IMO) on chickens or smaller birds because typically the knife is longer and often thinner so it is more flexible. A slicer based on your OP is a much better choice than a Cook/Chef's knife.
                      I can not tell if the victorinox has a serrated edge but many slicing or carving knifes do. Since you asked for something that would stay sharp longer this may be a feature you want to consider. In either event the Victorinox is a very nice tool for the money. I have given scads of those pairing knives out to my cooks in years past. They are indeed very sharp right out of the box. The steel you linked will be fine.

                      1. re: Fritter

                        Thank you both again for your replies.
                        What I should have said in my last post though is that I am looking at buying the chef / cooks knife and parer in addition to the carver (not instead of :-) ). The reason I'm looking at a cooks knife is for general kitchen duties -chopping etc especially for the likes of chopping / cutting turnip or swede ie 'hard' vegetables and alo general prep. The paring knife - well, it's cheap an looks like I might make some use out of it :-)

                        Re the carver I linked to - the one I gave the link to is a straight edge one but a similar one with a serrated edge is also available and again - both are available with rounded or pointed tips - if I'm opting to buy the cooks knife (I'm thinking should in addition to the carving knife / slicer unless I'm missing something?), am I better off with the slicer as opposed to the the carver??
                        Sorry - I know these are all very basic questions so I hope you all don't mind helping educate a complete novice.
                        And one last question - could the cooks / chefs knife be used to carve say a chicken where the slicer wouldn't be suitable?

                        Hope all that made sence?!

                        I greatly appreciate all your assistance!
                        Thank you so very much!

                        1. re: OnlyMe

                          You can use a chefs knife a sa slicer, it's just not quite as suited.
                          The point was raised that the feel on knife is important. spending $200 on knife you don't like using is a waste of money, for example. It's best if you can try before you buy. On a budget, I'd recommend the victorinox chefs knife, a chroma 301 pairing knife. Don't know enough about carving knives, except if you get a serated edge, it will tear at fibrous meats (like chicken) and be harder to sharpen. There are some that have semi-circular grooves (for want of a better word) that work well. But try them out if you can.

                          1. re: OnlyMe

                            I think I missed your link to a carver. The chefs/cook knife is a totally different beast for general use. It can be used to carve a chicken it is just not "ideally" suited to that, however it gets down to personal preference, the size of the knife etc .
                            If your husband is specifically asking for a carving knife and low maintenance is an issue then I would go with the serrated edge, pointed carving knife. I know it gets confusing as different brands or vendors often label them both "slicers" or "carvers" but in general my post above explains the differences. You can't really go wrong with a cooks knife, a pairing knife, slicer/carver and a steel. The choice between the slicer/carver may be one you want to discuss further with your spouse. The slicer is typically thinner however (IMO) a carver has more uses. I don't think you can really make a terrible choice one way or the other if it is a suprise gift.
                            Hope that helps.

                            1. re: Fritter

                              Ok,
                              I've had another look and I've also looked in our kitchen to see what my husband favours - I see two serrated type carvers in there that I can honestly say I have never seen him use. On the other hand, he always seems to use the straight edged carvers / slicers in there - they are all pointed ones so I'm thinking, base on what I've seen him prefer in the past, and the fact that he's said he wants a thin blade, I'll opt for this one: http://www.nisbets.ie/products/Produc...
                              I know it probably will be more difficult to maintain that the serrated edge one but going on what he usually uses I think it's the safest bet.
                              If he finds he needs a carver down the line a bit Fathers' Day is only around the corner :-) ...

                              One VERY last qestion .... any thoughts on this as opposed to a 'regular' sharpening steel? : http://www.nisbets.ie/products/Produc...

                              Thanks for everyoene help once again!

                              1. re: OnlyMe

                                Sounds like your all set!
                                The steel and the sharpener are two very different tools. If he does not have a steel at all then I would start there.
                                BTW I almost universally agree with AB about the serrated edges and from the sounds of it your husband is of the same mindset. The Mac carving knife is indeed about the perfect bread knife which is why I like it. I prefer a slicer to have dimpled sides but that's a small detail for home use.
                                I'm thinking he is going to be a happy camper.

                                1. re: OnlyMe

                                  I use a similar sharpener for the Victorinox slicer and would recommend it over the steel. It actually removes some material from the knife and returns it to razor sharpness.

                                  The slicers and other knives with granton edges (the recessed dimples) are design with the intent of having the slices fall away from the knife face, however they usually require a thicker blade. I find that the extreme thinness and sharpness of the Victorinox allows for greater control over the thickness of the slice and the sliced meats don't adhere at all.

                              2. re: OnlyMe

                                A chef's knife is a relatively all-purpose tool. You should have one. Ditto the paring knife.

                                With those two knives you can accomplish any kitchen cutting task reasonably well. Including carving everything from a quail to a whole roast pig. There are, however, more specialized knives that can perform some tasks better. Carvers and slicers fit into this category.

                                A carver, with its sharp tip and relatively stiff blade, is a more versatile knife than a slicer, with its round tip and generally longer, more flexible blade. If you're just going to get one, it should be the carver. (Note that not everybody uses these terms exactly as they've been defined here; rely on pictures, not names, when you're ordering.) But since you're going to be carving roasts of beef and turkeys and such, you'll want one that's got a reasonably long blade - 10" or so should do the trick.

                                Since it's a gift, and since it will be used to carve at the table, you might want to consider something more attractive than the industrial-looking Fibrox handle. And hey, while you're at it, why not get a matching carving fork and a gift box. Like this:

                                http://www.amazon.co.uk/Victorinox-Ca...

                                BTW, avoid serrated blades except on bread knives.

                                1. re: alanbarnes

                                  Great thread and great advice. I suggest you take it OnlyMe. I was going to post after reading over 3/4s of the way through, but then I read alanbarnes post and all I can say is...

                                  Ditto!

                                  Bravo alanbarnes!

                                  Other exceptional mentions are the F Dick steels and sharpening rods.

                                  I dont know about shipping to Ireland, but CutleryandMore has good sale prices on F Dick.

                                  http://www.cutleryandmore.com/search....

                                  One more thing, the type of serration on most good bread knives is called scalloped.....it is what someone was refering to as semi-circular serrations. All the serrations are the same largish size, they really bite into breads and tomatoes. Bread knives rock!