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Best quality knifes?

s
sm1nts2escape Oct 31, 2009 09:15 PM

I need to buy a knife set.I bought a faberware stainless knife from wallmart and when I pulled it out of the dishwasher it was rusting already.Looking for top quality and sharp.Whats the best?Thanks

  1. Chemicalkinetics Oct 31, 2009 11:48 PM

    Hi Smtnts,

    I am not a knife expert, but I have a few opinions to share. First, you have to decide if you want to go for German/European steel cutlery or Japanese steel cutlery. German knives are usually made heavier from softer yet strong steel. They are easier to sharp on your own. Japanese knives are usually made lighter and nimbler from harder steel. The harder steel allows Japanese knife to take on a smaller edge angle and therefore sharper.

    If you are into German knives, then you have the typical big names to choose from, like Wusthof, Henckels, F. Dick, Messermeister ... If you are into Japanese knives, then the better known and readily available brands are Shun and Global. Now, if you are into American cutlery, then you can pick Dexter-Russell or Lamson Sharp.

    One advice I have for you is: Don't not put your knives in a dishwisher. In fact, the better the knives, the greater the reason not to put them in a dishwasher. Dish washer detergents are very aggressive compared to hand dishwasher liquids and they are not good for knives.

    From Shun's website:
    "...However, we generally recommend against it. Here’s why: The dishwasher can be hard on all your dishes, but it can be especially hard on knives because they tend to get knocked around during the cycle."

    From Global:
    "Q. What help will you provide if the knife is damaged (snaps, rusts or nicks)?

    Our knives are not guaranteed against damage caused by inappropriate use or negligence.
    [Examples of inappropriate use or negligence of GLOBAL knives]
    1. Dropping the knife on the floor
    2. Attempting to cut frozen foodstuffs or extremely hard articles with the knife
    (twisting the knife from side to side)
    3. Using a dishwasher/drier to clean or dry the knife
    4. Storing the knife without cleaning and drying it"

    If you are hoping to buy a new set of knife, so that you can put them in a dishwasher, then I would suggest the opposite. You need to buy cheaper knives.

    1. PBSF Nov 1, 2009 01:01 AM

      Buying knives is a complicated issue. The earlier poster gave a good summary of the different brands and avoid the dishwasher advice. There is no "best". Choosing a knife is often a personal preference and how much one wants to spend. It depends on the feel of the handle, the weight, the balance, the type of material, etc. I would go to a cookware shop that carries a large selection and try some of the different brands to see how they feel in your hand. One might prefer a chef knife from one brand, a boning knife from another. I would avoid buying a 'set'. It might seem to be a bargain but most often has one or two that are not particularly useful. If you are a beginning cook, I would start with a good chef knife and a paring knife. Add as you feel you need another such as a boning knife, slicer, etc. Also buy a sharpening steel and learn how to use it keep a sharp edge on your knives. I would do a search on this board as there are many earlier posts on this subject.

      1 Reply
      1. re: PBSF
        c oliver Nov 15, 2009 12:55 PM

        I agree regarding not buying a set. When I met my husband, he had a set that a friend (who'd just finished culinary school!). Most of them never get used. 99.9% of the time it's a chef's knife and paring knife. I have a serrated knife that was my father's which we use as a bread knife. And a number of really cheap, small serrated knives with different shapes and plastic handles.

      2. tanuki soup Nov 1, 2009 02:35 AM

        Since it seems you want the convenience of washing your knives in the dishwasher, I would suggest you consider the Victorinox Fibrox line. They are very reasonably priced (cheap even), but good quality. Most importantly, unlike the vast majority of high-quality knives, they are advertised as being dishwasher safe. They may not be the "best" knives in the world, but they are good, sharp knives and may be exactly what you are looking for.

        1. Chemicalkinetics Nov 1, 2009 08:03 AM

          Smtnts2escape,

          I reread my earlier post. I think I could have been more clear. You see. When most people talk about good quality knives, they are referring the hardness and toughness of a stainless steel blade more than anything else. In short, people talk about performance. As such, a high quality knife is not necessary the most rust resistant. Let's take 440s stainless steel for example. There we have 440A, 440B, and 440C. 440C is considered the best for its hardness and its ability to hold a good edge for a long time. However. 440A is the most rust resistant and 440C is the least. So in your view, 440A may be considered the higher quality, while most people define the other way around.

          Again, I cannot repeat this enough. It is very important not to put high quality cutlery in a dishwasher. You are doing yourself a disservice. For instance, you may think you are saving time by putting 440A steel cutlery through dishwasher, but these knives do not cut as well, get dull easier and you will need to sharpen them often. Hand washing knives are very simple -- much simplier than washing dishes. A simple wipe will do, and typically people do not use more than 3 knives in one cooking session and often only use 1 knife. You can hand wash 2-3 knives in less than 10 seconds. There is no question that hand washing my knives are much easier than sharpening my knives.

          1. b
            Bubbamike Nov 1, 2009 10:37 AM

            If you're used to using Faberware then get the Forschner it will be a revelation, great value for the money. The do not wash them in the dishwasher. It takes two seconds to take a knife, run it under hot water, rub with soapy sponge, rinse in hot water and dry with towel. Dishwasher will dull your knife and a dull knife is more likely to cut you. Treat your knives well and they will last a lifetime. Treat them badly and you'll waste a ton of time, money and blood.

            5 Replies
            1. re: Bubbamike
              Chemicalkinetics Nov 1, 2009 10:50 AM

              Bubba

              Ha ha ha. I like the part "waste a ton of ... blood"

              Talk about Halloween theme.

              1. re: Bubbamike
                Scargod Nov 14, 2009 01:11 PM

                I'm trying to visualize the dishwasher washing off the sharp edge...

                1. re: Scargod
                  cowboyardee Nov 15, 2009 06:17 AM

                  I'm sorry to even continue this debate, but I would like to clarify this issue somewhat.

                  First and foremost - I don't care much about handles. Use your judgment. Also - carbon steel = not for dishwasher. But you guys already knew that.

                  But, as far as sharpness goes... the issue is not really the water. The issue is that most dishwashers have no specific place for knives. They are loose in the washer, and streams of water will knock them into other implements and the sides of whatever is holding them. We're talking metal on metal or metal on ceramic contact. This will dull a knife, just like leaving it loose in a frequently opened drawer.

                  If your dishwasher has a specialized knife holder, or if you build or buy one (not sure if they are available for purchase - anyone want to make a million bucks?), you can effectively avoid this issue. You can also render this issue moot (nearly) by sharpening often and well.
                  [edit: I suppose meticulously wedging your knives into a dishwasher so the edge touches nothing and there is not enough wiggle room for contact would also work - depends on your knives and your dishwasher]

                  As for rust- not all stainless steels rust at the same rate. I think most forms of stainless would survive a wash cycle in isolation. But some could sit around all day in the dishwasher afterwards or survive many cycles and some could not (note that dishwashers are not the same either). Stainlessness is defined primarily by free chromium content (the amount of chromium not bound up in carbides). This can vary a good deal between different stainless steels and even between different steels with the exact same total chromium content. That said, if someone claims that their knife has been run through a dishwasher repeatedly for years with no rust issues, we should take their word for it - it speaks highly of the rust resistance of their particular knives.

                  I've also heard many worry that a dishwasher can ruin a knife's temper. From what I know of metallurgy (more than your average dude, less than a metallurgist), this is not probable. Even low tempering heats are significantly higher than the inside of a big commercial dishwasher. There is some anecdotal evidence of knives losing their temper via a dishwasher, mostly in the form of people claiming that theirs did. I would consider this remotely possible that repeated exposure to low heat could have a noticeable effect on steel temper, but it is also possible that these people are experiencing a differential temper within their knives that is only revealed after many sharpenings - not all knives are tempered evenly from edge to spine. This would be easy to attribute (mistakenly) to a dishwasher.

                  If anyone has a link to any non-anecdotal evidence (we're talking scientific) of low heat de-tempering of steel, I would love to see it. Until I do see it, I will continue to:
                  A) consider this a myth. And...
                  B) wash my knives by hand anyway. As a majority of my knives are carbon steel, this should not surprise anyone.

                  1. re: cowboyardee
                    Paulustrious Nov 18, 2009 06:21 AM

                    I do have two types of knives - my Shuns and a motley bunch of others. The others go in the dishwasher and are rust free. The dishwasher did ruin a wooden handled Henckell - but only the handle.

                    I agree, de-tempering seems impossible. I fall into the misty area of knowing a bit about metallurgy - just enough to to convince myself I'm right when I'm wrong. In terms of the edge - it may well be possible for the chemicals in a dishwasher to disturb the crystal matrix of the steel or remove the chromium oxide layer at a micro-edge. This is not knowledge - just supposition.

                    1. re: Paulustrious
                      Chemicalkinetics Nov 18, 2009 07:29 AM

                      Hi Paul,

                      You have "Shuns and a motley bunch of others"? Shun is going to love that.

                      As for corrosion, most stainless steels are pretty good against water, but the problem of course is more than just water. My understanding is that some dishwasher liquids are more aggressive than others and can speed up the corrosion. To some extents, it is no different than why it is ok to use hand washing detergents to wash a seasoned cast iron cookware, but it is not a good idea to put one in a dishwasher. I also read the same thing for enameled cast iron cookware as well. There are automatic dishwasher detergents which are safe for enamel cast iron cookware and there are some which are not safe.

                      I believe automatic dishwasher detergents have become gentler in recent years. Come to think of it, the old hand dishwasher detergents were very harsh as well. My mom had used to wear gloves to wash dishes.

              2. c
                chuckl Nov 1, 2009 12:16 PM

                Forschner and Dexter-Russell are high-quality knives and not very expensive, and they are much better than Farberware. You don't need a set or a lot of knives. An 8-inch chef's knife, a serrated bread knife and a paring knife will handle just about anything you want to do with a knife in the kitchen. A honing rod will help you maintain a sharp edge until you need professional sharpening or you want to sharpen your own with stones. You can always add on.

                5 Replies
                1. re: chuckl
                  Chemicalkinetics Nov 1, 2009 12:28 PM

                  Hey Chuck,

                  I agree with you about Dexter-Russell and Forschner. I like my Dexter knife, but they are very difficult to find as they are geared toward restaurants. I mean, you won't find them in Macy or Bed Bath Beyond or anything like that. Dexter steel is nothing like those Japanese hard steel cutlery, but I like the balance it strikes between hardness and strength. I mean I can abuse Dexter knives a bit and they are not too difficult to sharp on my own. I use DMT and waterstones to sharp. So, where do you get your Dexter knives? I know a restaurant supply store which carries it but the selection is poor. I suppose I can always buy from KaTom online. Great selection and good price, but I won't able to individually check out the knives. Where do you get your Dexter knives? Thanks.

                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                    c
                    chuckl Nov 4, 2009 07:24 AM

                    you can find them on ebay and at most restaurant supply stores. DRs and Forschners are a good choice if your budget is somewhat limited, and they can take a beating

                    1. re: chuckl
                      Chemicalkinetics Nov 4, 2009 07:40 AM

                      Chuckl,

                      Thanks. That is the thing. I do see Dexter Russell knives in restaurant supply stores and only there. The prices in restaurant supply stores are considerably lower than the MSRP and often lower than even eBay prices. Yet, restaurant supply stores carry very few variations of Dexter Russell knives. Without rambling, what I really want to say is: it is much easier to find sale for Henckels, Wusthof and Victorinox when compared to Dexter-Russell. At full MSRP, Dexter Russell knives are great bargains, but in reality, I often end up comparing Dexter’s full MSRP price against Wusthof’s reduced on-sale price.

                      Yeah, Dexter knives can take a beating. They are cool.

                    2. re: Chemicalkinetics
                      f
                      fourunder Nov 18, 2009 06:06 AM

                      Here's a limited selection:

                      http://www.webstaurantstore.com/search/dexter-russell.html

                      My favorite Dexter knife is the 8 inch Chinese Cleaver. If you go to the link, they show they have an on-line store for direct purchase.

                      http://www.dexter-russell.com/2008/Search_form_result.asp?type=cat&search=08.1

                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/664970

                      http://www.webstaurantstore.com/8-chi...

                      1. re: fourunder
                        Chemicalkinetics Nov 18, 2009 07:31 AM

                        Thanks Fourunder,

                        I also have a Dexter Chinese chef's cleaver. It is the S5198:
                        http://www.dexter1818.com/2008/Search...

                        I guess what I meant is that it is difficult (not impossible) to find them in stores and certainly not in full selection. That's all.

                  2. paulj Nov 1, 2009 07:34 PM

                    The rust has more to do with your use of the dishwasher than the quality of the knife. I have a couple of Faberware knives that were my favorites - until I got some brightly colored Kuhn Rikon knives at TJMaxx.

                    Since I started with a French carbon steel chefs knife, I am in the habit of washing and drying my knives shortly after use.

                    To me, usefulness of knife has more to do with its shape, weight, thickness, balance,etc, as opposed to brands or type of steel, or price.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: paulj
                      s
                      sm1nts2escape Nov 3, 2009 05:53 PM

                      I have had a few ss knives and none of them have rusted from being in the dishwasher.I even have a older faberware paring knife that doesn't rust from it.SS isn't suppose to rust.I only washed it in the dishwasher cause it was late and had to get ready for work.I usually do wash them by hand but sometimes I don't.

                      1. re: sm1nts2escape
                        Chemicalkinetics Nov 3, 2009 07:15 PM

                        sm1. Sure, but you do understand that just because a stainless steel knife rusts, it does not mean it is less worthy. 440C is slightly more susceptible to rusting than 440A, but 440C otherwise is a better steel than 440A.

                        Here is another article on this issue:
                        http://www.knivesandtools.com/nl/help...

                        Stainless steel can rust. As you can read from Global website, it does not guarantee its knives against rusting from a dishwasher. Your original post asked for high quality sharp knives, but also ask for rust resistant from dishwasher. I am just saying these two things do not necessary go hand-to-hand.

                    2. Zeldog Nov 3, 2009 07:30 PM

                      Best depends on what you use them for and how much disposable income you have (and maybe how much you want to impress your guests). If you want the best for the money, go with Forschner, except for the paring knife, which is puny with a pathetically small handle. Me, I use Shun santoku and paring knives, and my other knives are a mix of Forschner and other cheap restaurant quality knives (bread, 6-inch chef, boning, filet, and 5-inch serrated utility knives). And a $7 chinese cleaver that I use mostly for smashing garlic and ginger.

                      As for running knives thru the dishwasher, I find it mainly degrades the handle, if made of wood, rather than the blade (come on, we're talking about high quality stainless steel -- you think a little hot water is going to ruin the metal? Or maybe it's the soap?). The Forshners have been through the washer many times with no ill effects.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Zeldog
                        s
                        sm1nts2escape Nov 11, 2009 05:46 PM

                        Thanks zeldog.

                      2. r
                        RGC1982 Nov 12, 2009 10:34 AM

                        Unless you are willing to risk ruining the handles, or cutting yourself when you unload the dishwasher, the dishwasher is a bad, bad idea. I have a couple of old Gerbers that were allegedly "dishwasher safe" from many years ago, and the knives held up (small paring knives) but the handles have lost their nice look and are worn with whiteish coating. I was a kid and didn't know better, but you don't have to make the same mistake.

                        It only takes a MINUTE to safely wash a knife with a sponge by laying at the bottom of your sink. Well worth it.

                        Also, be sure to dry thoroughly. Rust does happen to stainless steel, and leaving your knives in the damp environment of your dishwasher to dry will hasten that process.

                        Don't let convenience make you choose a lesser quality knife.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: RGC1982
                          Chemicalkinetics Nov 12, 2009 11:12 AM

                          RGC,

                          In addition to what you said. I think some believe the most money they spent on their knives, the more rust resistance the knives become. That is just not true.

                          1. re: RGC1982
                            Scargod Nov 14, 2009 01:27 PM

                            Please! Can't we stop the anti-dishwasher hyperbole? The only thing that is making sense to me is that you could cut yourself unloading the dishwasher!
                            I have cooked for over 50 years and while there are knives that will rust and handles that are all real wood, and will be ruined in a dishwasher, The plain truth is that most are impregnated, sealed, or one piece handles and made to be run through the dishwasher!
                            I have a varied collection of knives and the only ones that don't go in there are the plain, unimpregnated handles.
                            Yes,handles might dull or change color a little. I have impregnated wood handled knives that are 35 years old and they are doing fine and have always gone in the dishwasher. The surface looks a little dried out, is all.
                            When you load them in the dishwasher make sure the blade edge is facing up so it will not rub against anything while in there. Caveat for fools: you don't put anything but stainless steel in there. Those that are carbon steel, I hand wash...

                            1. re: Scargod
                              n
                              Normandie Nov 15, 2009 06:40 AM

                              I put some of my stainless knives in the D/W, too, Scargod. Specifically, my Wusthof Classics. They are billed as "dishwasher safe" and I've taken Wusthof's word on it. No problems. I probably would NOT do it if I had *young* children in the house, but my stepchildren are older, know that I do it, and know to be careful if they want to retrieve something out of the D/W before I've unloaded it. So all that takes is a little communication.

                              I love using the knives...I hone them before every use, anyway, have them sharpened once in a blue moon, and they remain sharp and new-looking.

                              For any other stainless knives from the era when the handles actually are wood, I simply oil the handles when I oil my wood island top and my other wooden implements.

                              My carbon steel knives, like yours, don't go in the dishwasher.

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