HOME > Chowhound > Cookware >


replace Sabatier?


I want to buy my husband, who is a professional chef, a new chef's knife for his birthday. He's had the same Sabatier (don't know which model) for about 15 years. He doesn't care for Global because they feel too light and the handle doesn't feel substantial enough. He has large hands and likes to feel a bit of 'heft' in the knife. Any suggestions? I was thinking about Wusthof.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. We have owned our Wusthof set for about 30 years. They are perfectly balanced, and still get razor sharp using a shapening steel--I have never had to have them professionally resharpened. If Wusthof has maintained its quality, you can't go wrong with their knives.

    1. If he likes a heavier knife, than Wusthof is a great choice. I would suggest him to try to handle the Ikon Classic or Ikon Blackwood knives.


      They are more expensive than the Wusthof Classic, but the Ikon does have better a handle and a reduced bolster (aka partial bolster) which makes knife sharpening much easier. Ikon knvies are avaliable in Williams Sonoma stores if he wants to handle them. I think they are also avaliable in Sur La Table, but I am not sure.

      Messermeister is also another brand of German knives which I heard decent thing about.


      2 Replies
      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

        Thanks for the tip on the Wusthof Ikon. I want to make sure I get a knife with a good handle since that is the main problem he has with many of the Japanese knives. The handles seem to be too narrow/small. I appreciate the craftsmanship of the Japanese blades, but the handle size and weight are a problem for him - unless anyone out there knows of a Japanese brand with bigger handles.

        1. re: dotdarling

          RichardL has a good point. The German Chef's knife has a different knife profile than a French Chef's knife. Interestingly, Japanese gyuto has a more similar knife profile with the French Chef's. You should able to find a Gyuto with a longer handle, but you will not able to find one with the weight and heft of a German Chef's knife.

      2. http://wildfirecutlery.com/

        I wouldn't even bother with a commercial knife like a Wusthof if I were you. Why not spend an extra $30 and get something completely unique, beautiful, and useful? Look at the link above. I'm by no means affiliated with this guy, but I do own 2 of his knives. This way you stick with carbon steel...

        1. He may also be attached to the French shape of blade rather than the German one. If you want to replace the Sabatier, www.thebestthings.com has some old carbon steel ones that I like a lot. They also have them in stainless, which have the same blade shape but I don't think they take as keen an edge.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Richard L

            Thank you for the website link. I've been buying my Sabatier knives from PCD but they've cut back on their stock. Now, thanks to you, I have a new source.

            I bought my first Sabatier in France in the early 1960s and it's still going strong. I've added more knives over the years and needed a source for gifts. I've just ordered three for my eldest son.

            dotdarling, is it possible to ask your husband why he wants to replace his Sabatier? Knives are very personal, it's not like buying a shirt for someone. If he uses this daily, it could be difficult to replace with another shape. I know from work experience that a Sabatier chef's knife (mine is the 10") is a great tool. I'd look for it first in case of a fire! I cannot fathom wanting to replace these knives.

            1. re: Sherri

              "Knives are very personal, it's not like buying a shirt for someone."

              Absolutely again. Then again, it is always fun to have another knife to play around.

          2. Unless he has been in misery for the past 15 years I can't imagine wanting to part with the Sabatier. My Sabatier **** Elephants have been in our family since the mid seventies and I would stop talking to someone if they threw them out (not saying that is your intention). Maybe it's the extra dedication that they need along with their abilities that causes the bond between Sabatier fans and their knives. The handle materials that are currently offered are different than mine but all the shapes are identical. Edit: {with the exception of one paring knife.} I discovered this is actually a Sabatier **** Elephant Nogent and it is also identical to what is currently offered in the Nogent line..

            1. Has your husband actually said he wants to replace the Sabatier? Mine is fifty years old, I have used it every day, and would sooner plunge it into someone before I allowed them to take it away! Since he has been using it for fiteen years, I cannot imagine him liking a German knife. They are heavier, and to a Sabatier devotee, clumsier. Maybe a gift certificate to a shop that carries Sabatier, along with other things that would interest a chef?

              12 Replies
              1. re: Caroline1

                He's been happy with his Sabatier, but after having them professionally sharpened his chef's knife came back with a chip at the tip. The man who did it said that it was already there...Anyway he needs a new knife and he's mentioned Wusthof before. The only knives I know he wouldn't want would be Global (for the reason I mentioned above) and for some reason - Henckels. As this is a birthday gift, even if the knife I choose isn't his ultimate preference, he still gets a new knife to add to his collection and can always get another Sabatier if he still wants to.

                1. re: dotdarling

                  Lee Valley has Sabatier knives, and the 10" chef's is $129 with free shipping. (That offer ends tomorrow!)

                  1. re: dotdarling

                    My 10" Sabatier is 50 years old and has NEVER been professionally sharpened. I steel it every time I take it out of the knife block, and it has a fantastic edge. I have another chef's knife I did have professionally sharpened, and it was like getting a divorce. Doesn't feel the way it used to, doesn't slice the way it used to, and it has a "hook" in the edge as it reaches the bolster. So now it sits in the knife block and thinks it's invisible. And to me, it is. Maybe getting your husband a really great sharpening steel is the answer? I highly recommend antiques. Mine was my great grandfather's and has a horn handle and a sterling silver guard and it puts an edge on knives like Gillette! Really sorry to hear what the "professional" knife sharpener did. Here's hoping the guy catches chicken pox!

                    1. re: Caroline1

                      Thanks for idea of a sharpening steel. He has one, but I'm not sure of its quality. An antique one would be a great additional gift. My husband was wishing for something more than chicken pox to befall the 'professional' sharpener:)

                      1. re: dotdarling

                        Well, I was thinking about bubonic plague for the knife sharpener, but that would endanger others a lot more than chicken pox.

                        Since you live in Ireland, you're probably placed just right for finding a great antique steel. My great grandfather was a butcher in Sunderland, but I have no idea where the steel was made. I would expect to find a MUCH greater selection in your part of the planet than in mine. Good luck!

                    2. re: dotdarling

                      I think you have a lot of options here. By the way, are you interested in a stainless steel knife or a carbon steel knife. That will narrow down quiet a bit. You have the option of going for a French Chef's, a German Chef's or a Japanese Gyuto. It depends what you seek for in a knife. Strength or toughness? High performance or all around ability.

                      Japanese knives can be very high performance oriented. SaltyDog on youtube have numerous videos which show he has adapted Japanese knives in his professional kitchen.


                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                        Thanks for giving me one more thing to think about! I was assuming stainless steel, but now I'm not sure. He's most interested in a good all-round performer that stays sharp (with the proper care of course).

                        1. re: dotdarling

                          Wusthof makes nice stainless steel Chef's knives which are good all-around performer. They can take a good amount of abuses. Most Japanese knives are made from harder steel and are sharpener to a lower angle. These allow Japanese knives to make better precision cuts, but they are not designed to handle tough jobs, like cutting chicken bone or lobster shell.

                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                            Chem I know you like knives. If you don't have a Sabatier **** Elephant you should try one, I think you will enjoy it. While I know you have posted dislike for a 6" Cook's/utility knife it is actually my favorite knife.

                            1. re: SanityRemoved


                              Thanks. I like to play with knives. I don't have a Sabatier, but I am keeping my eyes open. I am considering getting one of the followings for my next knife: a carbon-steel Sabatier Chef's knife, a carbon steel wa-handle Nakiri or a stainless steel Santoku. I had a Santoku during college, but it wasn't a very good one.

                              I heard the whole Sabatier thing is very confusing, because Sabatier stands for knives from assorted manufacturers. It is almost like saying "Solingen" knives. I believe the Thiers-issard Elephant one is the good one. I also heard the carbon steel Elephant knives are pretty good, but the stainless steel ones are average. Do these sound right to you?

                              Yeah, I don't dislike a short Che'f knife, but not an utility knife. To me, a short Chef's knife looks like this:


                              Whereas an utility knife is like this:


                              I know I willrepeatedly bang my knuckles onto my cutting board with an utility knife because of the lack of clearance.

                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                Yes the **** (four star) Elephants have been around a long time and as far as I can tell the quality has remained high for the carbon steel whereas the other Sabatiers (non-Thiers-Issard) have been known to be all over the place and benefit from the name recognition that Thiers-Issard built.. I've never used the stainless steel ones. They may be good but the carbon steels are what they are known for. I don't believe that the Sabatier's are as short as the Henckels but I can't really discern a difference between the pictures that they have for the two styles Chef's(Cook's) vs utility.

                                1. re: SanityRemoved


                                  Thanks. Your advices are about what I heard. I am looking at olive wood handle knives. The Sabatier Chef's Knife 6" is the same as the Sabatier Slicing/Ultility knife 6". I don't mean they are similar. I mean the two photos are exactly the same. The pattern on the olive wood handles are the same.

                                  Interestingly, there is a difference for blackwood handle knives. For the blackwood knives, the 6" Chef's knife has a wider blade than the 6" ultiliy knife. I think the blackwood photos are correct.

                  2. Has he been able to hold a Shun Classic chef's knife? These knives are heavier than some others & the "D" handle is larger than many. (In fact, while I love my smaller-handled 6" Shun utility knife, I don't like holding the larger-handled Shun knives because of their size.) I think the blade shape is more German than French.
                    It's also made from excellent VG-10 stainless steel, which will hold its edge wonderfully & require very little maintenance to keep sharp.

                    7 Replies
                    1. re: Eiron

                      I like my Shuns, but they are distinctly lighter than Wusthof. Another option is a Mac. I have used but never owned one. If I were starting again I would et one of those

                      One other thing to consider, and this is way out in terms of your request, is a CCK cleaver. But it is only useful for veg prep. It is my sharpest knife.

                      Incidentally, do you know if he wants stainless steel or carbon?

                      1. re: Paulustrious

                        dotdarling (the original post) would like to get a stainless steel Chef's knife for her husband, but it seems to be a weak preference.

                        1. re: Paulustrious

                          Thanks to Paulustrious and Chemicalkinetics, I am a CCK convert.

                          Wonderfully thin, sharp, low cost carbon steel cleavers and knives.
                          If you are lucky enough to live in Ontario, they have a store in Pacific Mall.
                          Otherwise, order from the small hand made source in Hong Kong.

                          1. re: jayt90


                            :) I am glad that it works out for you. Your picture:


                            The thin blade KF1303 is a pretty good knife. Inexpensive, very thin and easy to sharpen. Once it is sharpen, the knife performs even better. It just glides through food without much resistance.

                            By the way, Jay, what happened to your "Maybe Doubleside Waterstone"? Last time we chatted, I guessed that one side is waterstone and the other side is something else. Were you able to find out more? Or able to return it?

                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                              What about IO Shen? They seem to go over pretty well with some of the top chefs in England.

                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                I tried to return it it but the store manager insisted it was a waterstone.
                                Still haven't used it, but will try it on an old Sabatier CS.
                                The cleavers have been superb with just a few steelings.
                                Really like the clang!
                                CCK said the cheaper stone (Paul has it?) will soon be in stock but I haven't gone back.
                                I'll be back, especially for the hammered wok.

                                1. re: jayt90


                                  Maybe it is a waterstone. Yes, you are right. I almost forgot that CCK also sells Chinese cookware, though limited.



                        2. Well. I ordered the 9 1/2 " chef's knife from IO Shen. Here's hoping he likes it. It's a beautiful knife.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: dotdarling

                            I don't know much about IO Shen which is why I didn't reply earlier. It has the similar look to Western-Japanese knives like Shun. As you can see here IO Shen uses a very hard steel at Rockwell Hardness 62 and sharpened to 15o angle bevels.


                            This is very similar to Shun Classic knives which are HRC 61 at 16o angle. In comparison, Henckels and Wusthof knvies are about 56-58 HRC and sharpen to >20 angles (Ikon is one exception). So you can see an IO Shen knife will behave more like a Shun than a Wusthof.

                            Your IO Shen knife will be on the higher performance end, but less all-around. So it will give more control and provide better precision cuts than a Wusthof, but it probably cannot handle tough jobs like a Wusthof can, like hacking bones or cracking lobster shell.

                            Please update us when you have a chance. Best wishes.

                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                              Thanks CK,
                              The knife was delivered today. I'm no expert, but it is gorgeous and feels more substantial than Global. The tai tang handle is a work of art. Also received very detailed sharpening instructions with it. Husband's birthday is in a few weeks. I'll post his reaction then.

                          2. How thick is the spine on the Sabatier **** Elephant Carbon Steel knives? I have a rather thin chefs knife and am looking to pic up something a little thicker for tougher jobs...never held the Sabatier.

                            1. The verdict is in. My husband loves his I.O. Shen 9 1/2" chef's knife. He likes the look, the feel and the performance. Prefers it to his old Sabatier! Told his chefs at work that no one else touches it without his permission. He let them try it out and they were all impressed. He said that I now have his birthday and Christmas presents locked up for a while as there are 12 knives in the range:)

                              17 Replies
                              1. re: dotdarling

                                :) Thanks for the update. What about buying him knives from different vendors? Like one I.O. Shen, one Shun, one Tojiro, one Hiromoto... Just a thought.

                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                  What are you thinking! What if she did that and he liked one of the other knives better? That would taint the joy of the I O Shen! Have you never heard of letting sleeping dogs lie? '-)

                                  1. re: Caroline1


                                    Actually, I have never heard of "letting sleeping dogs lie" until today, which I just looked up. I learnt something. Thanks.

                                    Nevertheless, she has already tainted his original joy on the Sabatier with the new I.O. Shun, right? Let another knife comes in and ruins the I.O. Shen. It is called revenge. Why can't another knife takes revenge for the old Sabatier? Huh?


                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                      Your wickedness is showing! The obvious answer is Gift Certificates! And if he buys a knife that makes the Shen look bad, then he's the one who woke the napping puppy, not her! Peace. '-)

                                      Caroline, who still likes her Sabatiers best.

                                      1. re: Caroline1

                                        Actually, I rather enjoy having several different brands. I find myself sometimes picking a particular knife for its shape, sometimes for its length, sometimes for its weight/balance, & sometimes for its edge characteristics. And I might be cutting the same item each time!

                                        1. re: Eiron

                                          Me too -- assuming I understand you correctly. Occasionally, I cut the same food (meat or vegetable) by rotating 2-3 knives. I am still very surprised how my usuba cut compare to my other knives, so I like to switch the knvies back and forth.

                                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                            OK, so you're a little more obsessed than I am. :-D I don't usually switch in the middle of a cutting job (although I have; I just don't usually do it). I usually cut the same items on different days using a different knife from the last time I cut up those items. One benefit I've discovered is that I can really tell which knives need sharpening! Mostly, I just like feeling the differences between each brand's opinion of what makes a nice knife.

                                            1. re: Eiron


                                              I don't switch knives all the time. Occasionally, I said. Maybe 10% of the time.

                                              You should get a single bevel knife if you don't have one. Their edges are sharper than almost any double bevel knife. That said, their blades are usually very thick, so the wedging pressure is worse.

                                              So when I am slicing thin or cutting small items, the single bevel usuba feels sharper: less resistance and little sound (it has less of that splitting the vegetable sound). When I am cutting big chunks of large items, then the usuba get wedged in the foods and give more resistance.

                                              Get a relatively inexpensive single bevel knife to play around.

                                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                I got a single bevel carbon steel slicer from Japan, thin spine, for $70 at CCK,Pacific Mall, Toronto. That place is amazing.

                                                1. re: jayt90


                                                  The CCK headquarter at Hong Kong sells Japanese made Japanese style knives (as opposed to Chinese made Japanese styles knives). Here:


                                                  Does your knife look like one of those knives in the above link? The top two are Masamoto knives. You can see the online store Japanesechefsknife also sells these knives:


                                                  I didn't expect the Canadian CCK store also carry them -- mostly because it looks like a small size store from the photos.

                                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                    Yes it looks like the top knife (8.5" blade, 14" total length.) The markings are different.
                                                    They have a deba that looks like the second knife, at $120, so that will be my next one, now that I see it is a good price.
                                                    It is a small shop with a lot of stock; seems to have a cult following in the knife forums, so we are lucky to have the Pacific Mall outlet.

                                                    1. re: jayt90

                                                      Can I just unconfuse myself? Are you saying the Pacific Mall CCK definitely sells the Japanese knives. I don't remember that.

                                                      1. re: Paulustrious

                                                        Yes, there were two carbon steel and one SS in the display window.
                                                        Apparently Masamoto origin.

                                                        1. re: jayt90

                                                          Maybe not Masamoto, since you said the characters or markings are different the photo I showed. The marking for Masamoto should be like "正本", reading them while holding the knife with its tip at top and handle at bottom:


                                                          Neverthless, $70 for a yanagiba is fairly inexpensive. I am also surprised that they have a deba at %120 while the yanagiba at $70. I am guessing they are made by different manufacturers because usually a yanagiba costs more than a deba -- when they are of the same brand.

                                                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                            The Japanese characters resemble the 6th knife (second last) as well as the shape.
                                                            There is also gold foil as in the photo.

                                                            1. re: jayt90

                                                              I tried to search this "金楠" knife, but nothing turns up. I know it is a Japanese style knife, but I am not sure if it is made in Japan. If I find anything more, I will let you know.

                                2. re: dotdarling

                                  Congratulations! You have strolled the bramble path of selection and come out unscathed. Good job! And thanks for letting us know. You're a very thoughtful person!

                                3. I loved this tread and could not wait to find out what knife Chef would end up with, not to mention learned so much more about chef's knives. Thanks but a little sad that this little Novelas had to end.

                                  1. Now, now everyone. Let's all play nice:) I think I'll stick to getting him the rest of the line as gifts (over time of course). He may like a different knife better, but the opposite could occur. Besides, he really, really likes this knife. (insert picture here of me patting myself on the back for a job well done)

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: dotdarling

                                      I will weigh in, though quite late, with my experience with Wildfire Cutlery carbon steel kitchen knives. I bought an odd shaped knife, on a suggestion from my physical therapist. I have very little grip left in my right hand ( MS ), yet still love to prep and cook. I had not been able to use my expensive knives for over a year and it was getting me down. Michael called me, we worked out a design together. he charge me $100 for the knife and all the time he spent working out the piece. I am going to try to post a photo he sent before he shipped it. Needless to say, I now can work at my prep board again. The edge is as good as any knife I have ever used ( I am a former chef) and the workmanship is on beyond. Wood is Australian iron bark. Now I press down and can cut anything, along with the sawing motion. Clearly a hand made knife made with love. (click foto) Thanks.