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Mercer vs Victorinox

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murph909 Oct 13, 2011 08:32 AM

So I had another thread on here, but I am now stuck on these two brands and wanted to get a thread going just on these two.
I am looking for my first knives. I have got the decision down to the Victorinox Fibrox and the Mercer Genesis. I love the appearance of the forged Genesis line, and they have good reviews online, but not a lot of reviews. The appearance is lacking in the Fibrox line, but I have experience with them from work (fillet knives and 14 inch cimeters to cut fish up). I know the Victorinox will sharpen/hone easily, and can take a ton of abuse and still work wonders, but I have no experience with the Mercers.

So I am wondering if anybody has used either or both, and what they like/dislike. I also want to know how the Mercer Genesis holds up as far as staying sharp/ease of sharpening/honing. If the Mercer can be as easily sharpened and get just as sharp as the Victorinox, I will definitely go with that. If they lack, I will go with the Fibrox.

Thanks

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  1. Josh RE: murph909 Oct 13, 2011 08:42 AM

    I've used both. If it was my money, I'd buy the Mercer. I like the feel better than the Forschner (that's the name I'm more familiar with for the Fibrox-handled line).

    I prefer the heavier feel of forged vs. stamped blades.

    I'd attribute the smaller number of reviews to the fact that most lay people won't know about Mercer, they have pretty much zero presence in the consumer market. I've never seen them at any consumer kitchenware shop. I've only really seen them at restaurant supply shops.

    Another good example of that is Messermeister. Those are really nice German knives, with a 17 degree edge and extremely sharp. Great knives, but have never seen them in any consumer kitchenware shop.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Josh
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      murph909 RE: Josh Oct 13, 2011 08:55 AM

      How does the Mercer hold up as far as sharpness? Does it get nice and sharp?
      You are right, I had not heard about them until you mentioned them in the other post. That is why I always try to do as much research as possible.

      1. re: murph909
        Chemicalkinetics RE: murph909 Oct 13, 2011 09:05 AM

        murph,

        There are old posts on Mercer in CHOWHOUND and other places. You can also find information on Messermeister. Here we went through many knives options for the original poster and finally he got a Messermeister.,

        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/757675

        You will find a lot of useful information by using the search options.

    2. SanityRemoved RE: murph909 Oct 13, 2011 09:02 AM

      I haven't used the Mercer knives but I do take issue with their use of geography in their marketing literature. North America is mentioned as well as German steel but they give no indication that the knives are made in Taiwan.

      1. cowboyardee RE: murph909 Oct 13, 2011 09:22 AM

        I'm not sure you ever said - do you prefer the heavier classical feel of a traditional German knife? The Mercer is more likely to deliver that.

        I haven't tried the Mercer, but based on their word of mouth, I'd be surprised if they couldn't get reasonably sharp. And in terms of edge retention, Victorinox is nothing super special anyway. Chances are the Victorinox is thinner behind the edge and will cut with less resistance, making it feel 'sharper,' but I couldn't say for certain.

        I must add that I'm not a fan of full length bolsters like that on the Mercer Genesis, because it tends to either hinder sharpening and/or lead to the section of the knife near the bolster not contacting the cutting board down the road. Some of the other Mercers don't have that feature.

        12 Replies
        1. re: cowboyardee
          Chemicalkinetics RE: cowboyardee Oct 13, 2011 09:26 AM

          "I must add that I'm not a fan of full length bolsters like that on the Mercer Genesis, because it tends to either hinder sharpening down the road and/or lead to the section of the knife near the bolster not contacting the cutting board."

          Agree, this is partially why I gave murph909 that link. Many of us went through many knives options based on JuniorBalloon's preference, and at the end Messermeister just fit his bill the best. Not to take anything from JuniorBalloon. He knew exactly what he liked and he would have come to the same conclusion regardless of our suggestion. We just made it faster. :P

          Messerimester is good choice for him anyway. It is full forged German made knife with German profile. Lower edge angle and partial bolster. Way better for knife sharpening. The lower edge angle is not a huge issue if a person already know how to sharpen a knife. We reprofile our edge angle anyway, so it does not matter for some people. Messerimester is is for everyone, but it is a great fit for JuniorBalloon.

          1. re: Chemicalkinetics
            scubadoo97 RE: Chemicalkinetics Oct 13, 2011 09:44 AM

            Looking at their catalog, the Millennia collection doesn't have bolsters. Typical stamped blade but in reality there is nothing wrong with a stamped blade. More important is what it's made of and how it's tempered.

            1. re: scubadoo97
              Chemicalkinetics RE: scubadoo97 Oct 13, 2011 09:49 AM

              As always, scubadoo you are correct. Stamped blades are great. I agree. Somehow I got the impression that murph wants the forged line and that is why I wrote what I wrote. I could be wrong.

              1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                scubadoo97 RE: Chemicalkinetics Oct 13, 2011 10:05 AM

                "As always, scubadoo you are correct"

                I told my wife that before we got married just to set the ground rules. We still joke about it.

                1. re: scubadoo97
                  Chemicalkinetics RE: scubadoo97 Oct 13, 2011 10:12 AM

                  Ah, another life lesson I learned from you. I need to do that to my future wife just to set up the ground rule, so the marriage will start at the proper understanding.

                  :D

                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                    scubadoo97 RE: Chemicalkinetics Oct 13, 2011 10:18 AM

                    At least you know not to talk knives on the first date.

                    1. re: scubadoo97
                      Chemicalkinetics RE: scubadoo97 Oct 13, 2011 10:20 AM

                      "At least you know not to talk knives on the first date."

                      First, technically it is "not to talk about knife SHARPENING" on my first date.

                      Hey, I learned that on my own, all blood and sweat. I didn't learn that from you.

                      :D

                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                        scubadoo97 RE: Chemicalkinetics Oct 13, 2011 10:30 AM

                        Haha, yeah I remember.

          2. re: cowboyardee
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            murph909 RE: cowboyardee Oct 13, 2011 09:32 AM

            I dont have any experience with a heavier feeling knife, but am thinking that it is the way I want to go. I have only held a few in stores, but they seem nice to hold and feel like there is a bit more to it than the Victorinox.
            As far as sharpness, the Victorinox is the only knife line I have used, so I really dont have anything to compare it to as far as sharpness. I just know it does the job I use it for well, but then again any sharp knife probably would.

            The only issue with the Messerimester is that it is a bit more expensive than the Mercer Genesis. I am wondering if the full bolster is enough of an issue to make it worth spending the extra money. The price point of the Mercer/Victorinox is more ideal for sure.

            1. re: murph909
              Chemicalkinetics RE: murph909 Oct 13, 2011 09:36 AM

              Victorinox is slightly better than Dexter in term of edge retention, but Dexter is slightly easier to sharpen -- or so said people. The difference is so small that you may not notice much. Mecer is about the same as those.

              Full forge knives are difficult to sharpen, so that is something you have to watch out for. The profile can recede behind the bolster making them useless -- of course then you can grind down the bolster, but you will have to do, which can be a pain.

              "I have only held a few in stores, but they seem nice to hold and feel like there is a bit more to it than the Victorinox. "

              I would borrow one from a friend. Holding a knife in a store really does not tell too much. How a knife actually cut can be very different. Heavier and thicker knives have their issues. A major one is that they have greater resistance, which means they feel more dull to you when you cut. They are not technically dull, but they feel that way because of the greater resistance from the thick blade.

              1. re: murph909
                cowboyardee RE: murph909 Oct 13, 2011 10:02 AM

                I guess another important question is: how do you intend to sharpen the knife? Some methods exacerbate the bolster issue more than others, But for any of them (except no sharpening at all), it's still an issue. If you're a DIY type, you can file or sand down a bolster when it needs it, though it can still be a PITA.

                My comment about sharpness wasn't really about the cutting edge. In that sense, most knives are as sharp as you make em. Of course, there are some that sharpen especially easily or that resist forming a sharp edge. But out-of-the-box sharpness is not a huge issue unless the knife is essentially disposable.

                I'm talking about resistance in cutting, which is a function of both sharpness and how thin a knife is, especially right behind its edge (as well as a few other factors). The Victorinox cuts easier ans with less resistance than the average German knife because of its geometry, not because of any major advantage in actual sharpness.

                1. re: murph909
                  Josh RE: murph909 Oct 13, 2011 03:21 PM

                  Mercers get very sharp. There's no problem there.

                  As far as the heel of the blade goes, if you are steeling the knife properly you won't be getting it sharpened frequently enough for that to be an issue.

              2. Chemicalkinetics RE: murph909 Oct 13, 2011 04:16 PM

                This really get back to one of the earlier points, which is about your sharpening methods. A good knife without a reasonable sharpening plan is not going to last long. I do recommend you to consider the sharpening question early on in your search for a knife. It really isn't too different than considering a cell phone plan before buying a cell phone.

                This following is a very good and comprehensive list of sharpening methods. It provides good description and guideline for each:

                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7971...

                A plus rating here:

                +1

                6 Replies
                1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                  scubadoo97 RE: Chemicalkinetics Oct 13, 2011 05:30 PM

                  Good advise CK

                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                    m
                    murph909 RE: Chemicalkinetics Oct 14, 2011 09:23 PM

                    Thanks for the article on the sharpening, it is very well writen.
                    I am unsure of which method to choose, and am currently researching each. I am very willing and able to try/practice using whetstones, with the understanding that it may take a while to get good at, and am leaning towards this idea.

                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                      m
                      murph909 RE: Chemicalkinetics Oct 15, 2011 03:29 AM

                      So I wanted to know what your guys take on whetstones is. Researching them has left me a little confused about which ones need water and which ones dont, if theres a difference between whetstones and waterstones, etc... It seems to vary greatly from website to website about how you use them.
                      A quick look through some search results on here didnt seem to help either, but if there is an article please point me to it:)

                      1. re: murph909
                        Chemicalkinetics RE: murph909 Oct 15, 2011 05:34 AM

                        Whetstone is derived from the word "whet" and "stone". "Whet" is defined as:

                        1: to sharpen by rubbing on or with something (as a stone)

                        http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictio...

                        Whetstone is sharpening stone. Waterstone is one type of whetstone.

                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                          m
                          murph909 RE: Chemicalkinetics Oct 15, 2011 06:36 AM

                          So would I be right in saying a whetstone doesn't need water but a waterstone does? And if so, would you recommend one over the other?
                          Im new at this so im just trying to figure it all out

                          1. re: murph909
                            Chemicalkinetics RE: murph909 Oct 15, 2011 07:06 AM

                            "So would I be right in saying a whetstone doesn't need water but a waterstone does?"

                            A waterstone is one type of whetstone. These terms are not mutually exclusive.

                            A iPhone is a cell phone, but a cell phone may or may not be a iPhone. So, a cell phone may or may not be made by Apple Inc.
                            A waterstone is a whetstone, but a whetstone may or may not be a waterstone. So, a whetstone may or may not need water.

                    2. s
                      Sirmoola RE: murph909 Aug 29, 2013 08:12 AM

                      I have a full set of Mercer knifves that work well. Got them when I started culinary school and with proper and frequent honing it keeps its edge quite well despite all the abuse I put it through.
                      I'd recommend it as a good everyday workhorse.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Sirmoola
                        Chemicalkinetics RE: Sirmoola Aug 29, 2013 08:23 AM

                        Man, there are so many nice reviews/feedbacks for these knives.

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