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which knives to get

I am looking at purchasing my first kitchen knives, and cant decide what to do. I have read a ton about knives in the last week trying to decide what is best.
Now I decided to concentrate on the chefs knife, and whichever brand I chose I will get any other knives I want from that same brand.
I have read a ton of good reviews regarding the Victorinox Fibrox knives, and the price is great. Im also looking at the Wusthof Grand Prix II knives. Basically I cant decide how much money I am willing to spend on a knife, since the Wusthofs are more expensive.

So what I want to know, from anybody who has tried both types, is the Wusthof Grand Prix II set worth the extra money over the Victorinox knives? I know the usual answer is "try both out for feel", but unfortunately no local store carries either brand, so that is not possible. If there was a significant advantage to the Wusthof Grand Prix II knives, I would probably spend the extra money, but I want to make sure I am not better off just getting the Victorinox. I had also looked at the Henckels Classic.

Thanks

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  1. "So what I want to know, from anybody who has tried both types, is the Wusthof Grand Prix II set worth the extra money over the Victorinox knives?"
    _____
    The Wusthofs look nicer. They're a bit heavier. But they don't cut better. I prefer the geometry of the victorinox/forschner - it makes the knife cut with less resistance than the Grand Prix. The Grand Prix has slightly better edge retention. They're about equally easy to sharpen. The Wusthof chef knife has a slightly smaller and less clunky handle if that matters to you.

    Of those two I'd go with the victorinox, probably even if they were the same price.

    Also - this is standard advice for knife threads - most people shouldn't buy a set. You'll almost certainly pay for a lot of knives you don't need, when you could have spent that money buying one or two better knives that are more than capable enough to do all your kitchen work. For most people, a chef knife and a paring knife is plenty to start with, A bread knife is nice if you cut a lot of bread, but you can afford to skimp on a bread knife.

    Also, sharpening is even more important than what knives you buy in the first place, so don't leave it out of the equation.

    1. Cowboy gave excellent advices, so I will build mine on top of his. First and foremost, definitely do not need to buy an entire set. Try to focus on your main knife first, let it be a German Chef's knife or a Santoku. The ability to keep a knife sharp is also important. You may get a really sharp knife now, but it will lose its edge in a few months. It really does not matter if the BMW is faster and more responsive car than the Ford. They will be the same if you don't fill them up with gas.

      "I know the usual answer is "try both out for feel","

      You know. Personally, I rate this knife handing lower than others. I believe the heart of a knife is the steel and the edge, and not the handle. Most knives have decent enough handle and balance that I don't think it will be a problem in getting use to a knife. This is not to say the feel of a knife is not important, but the feel of a knife can be misleading as well. First, you may overlook the other important aspects. Second, a comfortable knife is often a knife which most resembles your previous knife. If you have been only used a German Chef's knife, then a German Chef's knife will always feel better to you than a Santoku or a Gyuto or a nakiri...etc. So you will be stuck in using the same style of knife if you solely rely on feeling good.

      When I first switched to my new computer, the old one still feels better to me due to familiarity, but that does not prove my old computer is better.

      Again, you definitely do not want a knife which feels painful and completely awkward, but I don't believe in "pick the one which feels the best"

      4 Replies
      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

        It's funny - no one says the best paintbrush or pencil or hacksaw is the one that feels best in your hand. But with knives, that advice gets repeated ad nauseum. It's a line from a knife salesman that somehow passed into the popular consciousness. Or advice left over from the era where every the only widely available premium choices were chef knives in the German style and the main difference between all the lines were the handles.

        It's not that feel and comfort is a non-factor. A badly designed handle (usually easy to spot), a handle that 's way too big for your hand, a very sharp spine (which you can round down), or a balance point that's extremely forward or back can make a knife unpleasant to use. But for most knives and users, you get used to and comfortable with what you have. It's not some mystical fated process like Harry Potter being chosen by his wand.

        1. re: cowboyardee

          "It's not that feel and comfort is a non-factor..."

          Agree. Like you, I am not trying to say a comfortable handle is not important. It is important, but it is one of the many important factors.

          You may remember that awhile back I sharpened a few knives for friends including knives of Kiwi brand, KitchenAid, and Henckel International. This is a photo of them:

          http://www.chow.com/photos/503925

          Clearly, the Kiwi has the most basic and rustic handle, so if I am only to judge these knives by "feeling in my hand", I would have given Kiwi the lowest rating. However, the Kiwi knife was made of better steel than the other two knives and therefore cut better. As such, the Kiwi knife is the better one, and it feels better during real tasks.

          We cannot simply judge a car by how comfortable the seats are. Neither can we simply judge a cell phone by how good it feels in your hand. The number job of a car is to drive and the number one job of a cell phone is to make a call. Everything else are secondary.

          1. re: cowboyardee

            I agree. The major cutlery companies are set in their handle designs, occasionally in the past a bad design has escaped but that is rare. Balance and good technique are far more important than the visual appearance of the knife and handle. A beginner may want to review basic grip techniques before ruling out a knife due to the handle.

            Some may consider the Dexter Sani-Safe handles ugly but the textured handle is comfortable and great when wet.

            Stamped gets a bad rap due to the overabundance of junk knives (usually in wood block sets) available. Victorinox and Dexter both have some very nice stamped lines.

            1. re: cowboyardee

              I think you know my opinion that topic. I really don't think of how it feels in my hand because after hours of use it will feel like it is part of my hand.

          2. Gotta go with the Victorinox. That was my first chef's knife, and if price is a concern I'd go with it again. I like the weight (rather lack of) on the Forschner, and like you said they're quite affordable. Seem to keep their edge fairly well too, and easy to sharpen. For a sharpener I would check out Tuesday Morning/Marshalls/Ross. Steels are difficult, don't always work well. Especially if you don't know what you're doing.

            These days though, I love my globals.

            1. Not much to add to whats already been said. Unless youre as serious right off the blocks as chem or cowboy, you likely will not be sharpening your own knives for awhile. So youll have to find someplace reliable and careful to sharpen them a couple of times a year. A honing steel will help maintain the edge. I have a forschner chefs and a wusthoff santoku, and they are both good knives, better than henckels for me. Id go with the forschner first. Its light and nimble and will do the job as long as you keep it sharp. The other knife experts here can recommend online resources and videos to help hone your skills.

              1. :: whichever brand I chose I will get any other knives I want from that same brand. ::

                Why? It's a good idea to start with a chef's knife, which will be your most used knife -- but there's no reason to restrict yourself to the same maker for a paring, utility, or bread knife (the other basics).

                2 Replies
                1. re: ellabee

                  Good point. I miss that. It is advantageous to have knives from different brands. If anything it gives you a better appreciation of different knives from different makers.

                  1. re: ellabee

                    Definitely agree. When I first started out, I bought a whole bunch of Global knives, thinking that it was a good idea to get all the same brand. Later, I started to get single knives from different manufacturers whenever I found one that I liked better than the corresponding Global, and my knife block is now filled with knives from many different manufacturers. Not only is each individual knife one that I have selected for its specific use, but the fact that all the handles are different makes it easier to identify each knife when its in the block.