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Sep 23, 2011 10:30 AM

How Long do Knives Last?

Over the past year I've begun to cook a lot more with a wide variety of fruits and vegetables and other things that need slicing and dicing, and so was considering buying a higher end knife. Currently I have a 11piece set that cost like $30.

I'm willing to spend a good bit of money on a good all purpose knife but I want to know that its the last knife I'd need to buy. I probably about 6-8 meals per week that need things chopped up. Do most high end knives last a lifetime if properly cared for?

Also can anyone link me to a good tutorial for beginners about knives. I've been searching around here and getting some good info, but was wondering if there was a good all-in-one sort of starter video or resource for a complete knife newbie.

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  1. A decent chef knife that is well-maintained will last a home cook the rest of his/her life. If it sees regular professional usage or if it is regularly sharpened by particularly aggressive means (usually that means the coarse wheel of an electric sharpener or a belt sander), then it may last only a decade or two.

    I don't know of any general tutorial about all things 'knife' but there are plenty of slightly more specific tutorials. What are you most interested in learning? Do you want to know basic cutting techniques, how to sharpen, which sharpener to pick, or how to pick out a knife?

    3 Replies
    1. re: cowboyardee

      Thanks for the reply. I would like to know all of those things I suppose. I guess first though I'd like to see cutting techniques and how to pick out a knife. I've heard this is a good "mid-tech" brand. And I've also been told mostly I would just need a good chef and pairing knife.

      Nearly all of my cutting is fruits and vegetables. I cut meat as well, but not like a turkey or whole chicken or anything. Generally, it is just boneless chicken cutlets or sausages.

      1. re: rores28

        I basically like Global knives. But a lot of people aren't too enamored of them - many cite the handle as the biggest downside. OTOH, if you really like the look and think you'll like the feel of the semi-contoured metal handle, Globals are a pretty good choice.

        As other options go, Tojiro DP and Fujiwara FKM knives are priced similarly to Globals. They feature a lot of the same upsides (thin geometry, good cutting performance, nice factory edge) without the downsides many people attribute to Globals (the handle, steel that is sorta slow to sharpen given it's edge retention, a rare but reported tendency to snap near the handle).

        As for tutorials:

        There are many many cutting techniques. But here are a couple videos showing off some of the basics:
        Those are pretty decent videos, though they're focused mainly on techniques with curvier Western knives. You can use the same techniques with Japanese knives, but you may find that push cutting is handier than rock chopping in many situations (though he does basically use a push cutting stroke for some things, like when he's cutting a halved carrot). He's also not exactly the guy I'd go to for sharpening advice, so you can ignore that section by and large.

        I haven't really seen any guides to picking out a knife that I am 100% happy with - most of them are filled with misinformation, and even the good ones tend to be a little simplistic. This one isn't bad (it's not great or 100% accurate either):
        You might want to browse threads here or over at kitchenknifeforums or for more info.

        Here is a big post I wrote comparing different sharpening methods. I really think sharpening is just as important as which knives you buy if not more so. Eventually I'll get around to making a *slightly* easier to digest graph.

        For sharpening tutorials - that depends on what method of sharpening you choose. If you go the hand sharpening route, the free sharpening videos at are pretty good.
        Perhaps even better are the videos by occasional poster here, Jbroida:

        Sorry if all that stuff is a bit overwhelming. But there's a whole lot of rabbit hole for you to explore, and that stuff pretty much covers the basics.

        1. re: rores28


          Like cowboyardee said, many people like Global's handle, but many dislike it. I started a thread and here is the poll summary:

          "I've heard this is a good "mid-tech" brand."

          I don't know if any of the Global knives are considered mid-tech, so I have to say No.

      2. I bought my Sabatier chef's knife in Paris in 1962. It still sees daily use almost fifty years later.
        NB: some of the intervening years were in a professional kitchen so it's not all home use.

        1. I've had my Wusthof knives since 1983. The ones I have are equivalent to the currently available Classic line. I have them sharpened regularly, and they work perfectly.

          If I were starting out today, I'd probably try Forschner, at least a chef's knife. If these existed in 1983, I didn't know about them.

          1. Most knives should last you for a lifetime if you take reaonsably good care of them.

            "Also can anyone link me to a good tutorial for beginners about knives"

            In term of what? Knife sharpening? Knife skills?


            1 Reply
            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

              Speaking of good care. Never put the good knife in a dishwasher. I warned the guy to no avail.

            2. my brother now uses my grandmothers 'good' knife. we think it probably dates from the 1920's or '30's. It is still going sharp and strong and receives only normal care. grandmother used it constantly till shortly before she passed away in the late 1990's.