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Nov 8, 2011 01:53 PM

Buying a professional chef knife

My wife and I are going to Seattle this weekend and i want to buy professional chef knife. I went to House of Knife on Granville St and the lady was pushing me to get the Wusthof Classic 8" what do you think ?
I have done some research on line on quality of the steel/stainless steel of pro knifes and found that the sky the limit on cost of these pro knife. I would like to set a $200 limit on my purchase.

What do you use?
How much was it?
What was it made of?

give you input please

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  1. I'm a big fan of Japanese knives. I use a 10'' wood-handled, high-carbon damasked one which I bought from a knife-maker in Kamagura 10 years ago. I think it was around $300. Prices are not unreasonable online for example:
    Get the nicest you can afford. It will last a lifetime and you will get pleasure anytime you use it (or look at it, for that matter).

    2 Replies
    1. re: jcolvin

      so you say a high carbon percentage in the knife is better, because theWusthof Classic 8" only has a 0.5% carbon in it

      1. re: ukjason

        high carbon knives are typically more expensive but hold their edges and sharpen better. My knife looks very similar to this:

    2. Wusthof Classic -

      - sturdy (doesn't chip easily)
      - heavy (if you like heavy knives)
      - fully stainless
      - consistent quality
      - can be used with most sharpening gizmos on the market, and pro knife sharpeners will be well familiar with it
      - A little easier to chop with a rocking motion than Japanese knives, if that's how you're already well experienced at cutting things
      - Almost everybody seems to find it comfortable.

      - Edge retention is poor compared to most Japanese knives
      - Doesn't cut as easily or smoothly as Japanese knives
      - Full length bolster hinders sharpening and eventually leads to a step in the heel of the knife, so that parts of the knife don't cut all the way through food on a cutting board
      - Pronounced curvature of the blade functionally shortens the knife - a Japanese knife can be both longer and easier to handle at the same time. It also makes the knife not function as well for slicing as blade with more gentle curvature
      - Even if you really like the knife, both Mundial and Mercer are making almost the exact same chefs knife for a fraction of the price

      Personally, I much prefer Japanese knives. But I sharpen my own knives by hand and Japanese knives reward the effort more. I think if you're gonna spend upward of $100 on a knife, you should go Japanese. If you stick with German options, there's no reason to spend a whole lot.

      Finally, the quality of your knife is less important than the quality (and regularity) of your knife maintenance and sharpening. If you don't have a sharpening strategy in mind, you should look into one.

      35 Replies
      1. re: cowboyardee

        Thank you for your input.
        This is the knife I use the most now, is this more western(german) or japanese ?

        1. re: ukjason

          It's made in the German style - though honestly, because of the angle, I can't even tell for sure whether it's a standard German chefs knife or a German-made santoku or what. Looks like it may need a little reprofiling near the heel too, but it's hard to tell because of the angle.

          If you like German knives (like yours), look into Mercer and Mundial's offerings. They're very much like the Wusthof Classic but cheaper. Or if you want to spend a little more, the Messermeister Meridian Elite is a nice German chefs knife for about $90, but it doesn't have the stupid full length bolster that the others do.

          1. re: cowboyardee

            its a hampton forge 8inch slicer here another pic

            1. re: ukjason

              Gotcha. The Hampton Forge stuff tends to feel very much like the other German-style knives I listed (BTW, I say 'German style' to indicate the style in which the knife is made - the actual manufacturer can be German or American or Chinese, etc). But the steel quality isn't so good. Nothing wrong with a slicer, but if you want to use a knife like a professional, you'll need one with more of a heel so your knuckles aren't mashing the cutting board.

              Incidentally, I forgot to mention - Victorinox/forschner makes an excellent knife from a performance vs price standpoint. I'm talking about their stamped fibrox and rosewood handle lines. They sharpen well and cut a little better than most German style knives. They're very popular in pro kitchens. But they have a distinct institutional feel to em... they're not flashy or expensive-feeling at all.

              1. re: cowboyardee

                Go Forschner! :-D

                The Rosewood line is worlds away from the Fibrox line for avoiding that institutional look & feel. No, they're not going to give you a hand-made feel, but they're much, much nicer to hold & manuever than a chubby plastic "ergonomic" NFS knife.

                IMO, of course... :-)

                Obviously, they'll sharpen the same as the Fibrox line, since the blade portion is made of the same material & in the same way.

                1. re: Eiron

                  You are finally standing up for your Forchner/Victorinox Rosewood. Good to see you back.

                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                    Ok, I'll stand up for Thiers Issard carbon steel, full tang or Nogent, light enough to wield a longer blade with the same effort. I like 10" blades so much better for Chef's knives. Of course my use of Japanese knives has been scant; so my view is not saying French is better, only that after nearly 40 years li still love this knife.

                    1. re: tim irvine


                      A year ago or so, I looked into Sabatier after your suggestion for The Best Things, but I got confused. Which line do you think make more sense? The Sabatier Carbon Steel French Pattern Knives:

                      or the Sabatier Nogent Carbon Steel Collection of Historical Knives:

                      I suppose the historical knives have more historical and sentimental value, but really .... would a steel made from 60 years ago as good as the new one Thiers-Issard making? I would think the new one is better.

                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                        Chem, I have this Sabatier Nogent Ebony Paring Knife 2 3/4" but the blade is just shy of 2 1/2" long. I can't really get a measurement that makes sense for it to be 2 3/4" but mine is early to mid 70s so things may have changed somewhere.

                        I also have this one too, Sabatier Paring Knife 3 3/8" Stylet from the Carbon Steel line but the handle is a black plastic of some sort and same time frame.

                        Although they look similar to their counterparts in the Carbon Steel line, the Nogents are very different in their construction, weight and balance. The Nogent paring knife I have weighs 1 ounce. The center balance point is about 1 inch up the handle from the where the ferule meets the handle. The blade is set in the handle and held in place by the ferule and not bolsters. Not sure how deep it goes into the handle. How different the steel is I really couldn't say. I have a carbon steel version of the utility and yatagan. I honestly thought they were all of the same line until the past year when I really looked at the Nogent and discovered it was a different line. The markings are only on the handles and are the same for both lines that I own.

                        1. re: SanityRemoved

                          Thanks Sanity. Which of your Sabatier knives do you like better? Or would you say the difference is small?

                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                            The shorter Nogent with its triangular blade I could see being a great knife for decorative garnish work i.e. fluting mushrooms. I've yet to take that plunge but its weight and balance seem well suited to the job and the knife fatigue level would be very low.

                            The stylet has that very slight inward curve to the blade which makes it nice for peeling.

                            The yatagan is a very nice slicer and the utility sees the most action but like you have observed usually requires end of board work.

                        2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                          The Nogents are very light and have a very pointed blade, perfect for fluting a mushroom (which i'du likely never do) or other fine work. It seems to me that the weight difference is such that a 12" Nogent would be about as easy to wield as my 10" French pattern Chef's knife. I find the 10" Chef's knife pretty optimal in that it has enough substance to do heavy jobs, like cubing a roast for stew. I'd guess folks who are rockers or like the feel of henkels or wusthof will prefer the French pattern and folks who like lighter knives and are more slicers would like either. Of course I am late jumping back in and SanityRemoved has already said it better than I.

                          1. re: tim irvine

                            Thanks Tim. So you think the Nogents are lighter. It claims the Nogents are made steel more than 60 years ago:

                            "Remember, while these Sabatier knives are recently ground, the forgings they are made from are all more than 60 years old "

                            This is cool in the sense that these have some historical value. This is not so cool because these steels may not be as good as the modern. I will think about which one to get. I actually like the Nogents design, but the French Pattern offers the craving knife, would be something new.

                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                              When my dad died almost 10 years ago, the first thing I grabbed was the Elephant **** Sabatiers. I should have grabbed the Vita-mix and early Cuisinart too but I kick myself monthly over those. Point being is those knives were already close to 30 years old and the Nogent was 50 forging wise. Still my favorite knives and I know once I get back to using stones this next year they will be even more impressive.

                              Chem, if you decide to get one of the carbon steel or Nogents and hate it, let me know I'd definitely buy it from you.

                              Tim, the one Sabatier that I don't have that I want is the Chef's knife, I left out that I also have a Sabatier boning knife which I love.

                              I don't have any Japanese knives yet but for a western style knife I think the carbon steel and Nogent Elephant **** Sabatiers have the most character akin to Japanese knives.

                              1. re: SanityRemoved


                                I think I am leaning toward the modern French pattern carbon steel Sabatier from The Best Thing:


                                The reason is that I don't find craving knives from the Nogent series.

                                The Yatagan looks like a nice craving knife. I like the curved point tip, but it looks to be short at only 8" long. You own one, right? Do you find the length to be a problem? Or do you like the 10" slicing knife is better for craving?

                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics


                                  I like the carbon steel Yatagan. Mine measures 7 3/4" in blade length. I will give it a good workout this Thanksgiving to refresh my memory on larger tasks.

                                  Besides the Sabatiers you don't see the Yatagan style carving knives very often these days. Not sure if slicers took a more dominant role later in the 20th century and resulted in less yatagan style carvers being sold. I think it's a pretty versatile knife, certainly better for breaking down poultry at the table than a slicer.

                                  I have an old LF&C Universal carving knife with 9" blade similar to this:


                                  the blade curves in what was called a beef carver style in old product literature.
                                  But I don't have a true slicer.

                                  1. re: SanityRemoved


                                    I have little doubt that the Yatagan length is good enough for a small roast and a chicken. I am told that it is better to have a long craving knife to reduce/minimize the numbers of back and forth stroke on a big roast, which can tear the meat.

                                    Actually Dexter-Russell has a huge array of knives which some looks like the Yatagan knife and the Universal knife.





                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                      That Dexter is my favorite looking carver. I don't have a burning need for one but if I did.......


                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                        Thanks Chem, kind of embarrassing when I have the Dexter-Russell catalog sitting on the desk and didn't open it up.

                                        Where the yatagan differs significantly is that the clip point begins at the mid point of the blade rather than 1/3 of the way from the tip.

                                  2. re: SanityRemoved

                                    a few years back, lee valley tools had a small lot of vintage sabatier (with the elephant logo) knives for sale.
                                    i was too slow on the draw, and unable to get a chef's knife, but was able to score a few others.
                                    i am ignorant compared to you knife mavens here, but i really, really dig those old sabatier knives.
                                    i send them out for sharpening, something i've subsequently regretted, as the elephant logo was ground off on all them.

                                    1. re: linus

                                      "i send them out for sharpening, something i've subsequently regretted, as the elephant logo was ground off on all them"

                                      Yikes! How in the world did they manage to do that?!? I would've been REALLY upset if that happened to my nice knives!

                                      1. re: Eiron

                                        i have no idea. maybe they used a belt sander to sharpen them.
                                        the knives still work fine, and there's nothing i could do about it.

                                        1. re: linus

                                          Belt sander or grinding wheel or whatever the person may have used.... that person made a mistake. Grinding should be the edge, not the entire face of the blade. The fact that person took the entire logo off is just weird. It is almost like someone took off your BMW logo while changing your car tires. Ok, not that bad, but the point is that the logo is not that close to the knife edge, just like your BMW logo is not that close to the tires.

                                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                            hey man, i dont disagree with you. but what was i to do? i guess i could have bitched and asked for a refund on the sharpening, but that wouldnt have put the cute lil pachyderm back on the blades.
                                            i tried to be zen about the whole thing. at least the knives were sharp. i still use them. no, i dont take my knives there any more.

                                            1. re: linus


                                              I totally dig it. You were caught in a tough corner. I think that dude had some bad history with elephants, ya know...

                                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                i have worse horror stories about sending my knives out to be sharpened by supposed experts, believe me.
                                                yes, i need to learn to do it myself, no doubt about it. i've tried, but it hasn't worked very well.
                                                i should buy a new stone and have at it.

                                  3. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                    Chem, you are clearly way up the curve from me on metallurgy, but I find the old Nogents to be very nice metal. I believe they are what Julia used. I have the French pattern (full tang) carving knife and it is the only Thiers Issard knife I don't give an 11. I do notice that each of those old blades really does have a unique character. SanityRemoved, the boning knife is the one I don't have. Glad to know it is a fine knife. I shall relay that to the Birthday Moose!

                                    1. re: tim irvine

                                      "I have the French pattern (full tang) carving knife and it is the only Thiers Issard knife I don't give an 11."

                                      Ouch, I was looking exactly at the French pattern carving knife and now you said that is the only not to get. Can you briefly elaborate your dislike of the craving knife? Too short? Too flexible? Thanks in advance.

                                2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                  Chem, I have the 12 inch Nogent, and it is a great knife indeed. Nothing breaks down a full size brisket like this thing, or cuts though wheels of cheese, quite like this beauty. I don't know if the 60 plus year old steel is better or worse, because I can't tell the difference. Carbon steel is still carbon steel, you have to baby it or it rusts.

                                3. re: tim irvine

                                  I love my French knives, but they do take more work to manitain than a stainless steel knife. I have a Thiers Issard 8" chef's knife, but I also have 2 German pattern chef knives, plus my Victronix kit knife.

                                  The forged bolster is not a problem, and if the knife is ever sharpered to a point where the bolster extends beyond the blade it is a easy 3 minute procedure to have it ground even with the knife edge. I have 2 German knives that I bought in college and neither have been sharperened far enough that the forged bolster is a problem despite daily use.

                                  A lot of the choice depends on your cutting style. Are you a chopper who use vertical motions or to you prefer long slicing motions when disessembling foods? If you chop you'll want a blade with more curve to the blade that the Germans have.

                                  1. re: Kelli2006

                                    I have better than average knife skills, its just i have all ways had knife block sets you know the $80 - 150 type now its time for a pro knife.

                                    1. re: ukjason

                                      Hi Ukjason,

                                      A few additional thoughts:
                                      - that current knife of yours is still a decent knife. Once you sharpen it up, it will take on a totally new life and you'll fall in love with it all over again. And it will be your "go to" for your less delicate kitchen work.
                                      - You live in Vancouver ... GREAT TOWN. Therefore, you have a Chinatown. I promise you that for $15-25 that there will be all sorts of pretty decent blades to fill out your collection. My single bevel Japanese slicer was $14 from an asian market, and is scary sharp. Unless I'm actually slicing fish or roasts that I stay away from it!

                                      Please take a trip down there and check out what they have. The Japanese are very fanatical about quality and have much higher expectations for "standard kitchenware" than we do. This is not limited to kitchen stuff. It's how they are about everything that they make. So check out the "made in Japan" knives and don't let the price fool you. If it's made there, it will be worth your consideration, especially if you need an inexpensive cleaver, utility knife, or slicer ...

                                      - Size matters. Bigger isn't always better. Your wife may disagree, but that's another topic. In my personal experience, I'm happiest with a Santoku or Chef's knife that is 6.5 - 7", and perhaps 7.5 at most. I have owned one really long 10" chef's knife, and while I'm quite tall (2 meters), I found it just too darn unwieldy for me, even when choking up on the blade, which is how I hold my knives. Just something to think about, as well as whether your wife needs to like it or just you ... who does all the cooking?

                                      Bear in mind that you won't need too much length because the blade will be so gosh-darn SHARP that it will cut cleanly and thoroughly with very little added pressure beyond the knife itself.

                                      1. re: jkling17

                                        Thank you for you're reply.
                                        Well, in my house i do all the cooking, and lucky for my wife i love to cook. I will one day got to china town and take a look, but the knife that i'm getting once i chosen one is my Christmas present from my wife. I just wanna have one kick ass knife in my collection.
                                        ps. i will sharpen all my knife with my new stone once she buy me that too (guess i better tell her she buying that too)

                                    2. re: Kelli2006

                                      Straighter knives don't necessitate that you use a long slicing motion. You can still rock chop (though it takes more practice). You can also cut with a gentle forward pushing motion. Or a straight up and down chop, depending on the food you're cutting. A long slicing motion is good for meat, bread, and a few other things, but it's far from the only way to use a knife that doesn't curve too much.

                                4. re: Eiron

                                  I use (and love) the fat, white, Fibrox handle on my Dexter.

                      2. Keep in mind that House of Knives is a Wusthof dealer, so that's what they'll be most familiar with & most likely to recommend.
                        cowboyardee has a lot of good advice for you to follow, especially the comment regarding your current & future sharpening regimen.
                        I, too, prefer Japanese knives over Euro style.

                        21 Replies
                        1. re: Eiron

                          I'm gonna go japanese, one I need find one that feels comfortable in my hand. My only problem is i live in Vancouver Canada and I might be paying more here. I'm only in Seattle for the night hopefully I can find one in that time.
                          I like the look of this one, but i will have to cap my price at $300.

                          1. re: ukjason

                            Hi ukjason,

                            I have a lot of knives, including Japanese and German models. My favorite chef knife is the Victorinox, which, I think, is called Forschner in the States. Why is it my favorite? The steel is less hard than that of the super Japanese knives. That means that it is easier to sharpen. Don't forget that buying a knife is one thing, keeping it in good condition is another.

                            1. re: bcc

                              I don't really find vg 10 (the steel used in the knife the OP is considering) harder to sharpen than the steel they use on Victorinoxes. Reasons for this are a little complicated. And if you sharpen with a Chefs Choice electric sharpener or an Accusharp, then yeah - a forschner/victorinox works better with those sharpeners. Also, VG 10 is definitely more prone to chipping than the Victorinox steel.

                              To UKjason - the knife you are considering is a nice blade. It's long though - about 10.5 inches. I like long knives myself, but I figured I'd point it out.
                              If you like that one, there are several similar options to consider. It's a common style - decorative damascus cladding, VG 10 core, fairly straight profile, fairly thin grind. The Kanetsune is very similar and a little more affordable. Here's the 8 inch.

                              The Ittosai gyuto is also very similar...

                              ...which is reputed to be the exact same knife as the Hattori HD gyuto.

                              They're very nice knives and are much loved by the people who buy em. You're paying a little bit extra for looks with these particular knives, but there's nothing wrong with that as long as you understand that's what you're doing.

                                1. re: ukjason

                                  Ha - that opens up the door to a lot of other similar knives.

                                  The Misono UX10 shares a lot of similarities with other great knives. The unique things about it are
                                  1) Its stylish angled bolster and bold lettering. And...
                                  2) its steel. Which, frankly, isn't up to par for what they're charging for it.

                                  The CarboNext series has a similar look, a better grind, and probably better steel. It is also more affordable. It is just shy of stainless though.

                                  The Kikuichi TKC is fully stainless, with a great grind and excellent steel. Well worth consideration.

                                  1. re: cowboyardee

                                    thank you very much

                                    I love this web site, so many people with great ideas and very knowledgeable people as well.

                                    Thank you alllll

                                    1. re: cowboyardee

                                      I when to Vancouver only true Japanese knife store and looked at his one KC-5
                                      And it was nice peace, but after holding so japanese wood handle i kind of like it.

                                      I do like the Taukasa210mm Gyuto but the price was a bit too high

                                      1. re: ukjason

                                        They look like very nice knives indeed. Please note the information on the asymetrical bevel. If you were planning to do freehand sharpening, this adds complexity to that ...

                                        1. re: ukjason

                                          So your Vancouver store also sell the CarboNext knife? I thought the CarboNext knife is kind of branded under JapaneseChefsknife. Anyway, cowboyardee, Eiron and I have played with a CarboNext Santoku, so we have hands-on experience on it.

                                          One thing you need to know is that it is not a true stainless steel knife, but it is very close -- almost stainless. It has an interesting edge retention. It cannot take on a extremely fine edge. When I sharpen the CarbonNext knife to a 10 degree each side edge, it cannot hold it for more than one cooking session. However, when I sharpen it at a 15 degree edge, it can hold it much longer than any of my VG-10 steel knife.

                                          It is slightly asymetrical, but I have more or less convert it to 50/50.

                                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                            So you guys are well educated in knife, so for a Japanese knife would you go for carbon steel or stainless steel.

                                            if carbon steel
                                            White steel, blue steel ?

                                            1. re: ukjason

                                              I think if you are running a busy professional kitchen, a stainless steel is better. On the other hand, carbon steel is for you if you are a sushi chef. For home use, I think it really depends what you value the most. Stainless steel is much more inert than carbon steel. Carbon steel is easier to sharpen. Dollar for dollar, carbon steel blade can get sharper than stainless steel blade.

                                              For carbon steel, I pick blue steel. Blue steel is slightly more inert than white steel. White steel can rust really fast, so it take extra caution. However, white steel is slightly cheaper, and white steel is slightly easier to sharpen.

                                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                I was going to reply as well but then I saw that Chemical took all my ideas and said them better that I would have. :-)

                                                I use a mix of carbon and ss. My primary blade is a very traditional Japanese Santoku and so is high carbon. It happens to be a white steel core. I can't speak at all as to white vs blue steel. I personally think that it's not worth getting all hung up on that aspect.

                                                Find a Japanese knife that you really like and don't worry about the little things. I'm sure that you'll take good care of it regardless.

                                              2. re: ukjason

                                                For cutting onions I always use stainless

                                        2. re: cowboyardee

                                          Just a side note regarding CBAD's suggestion for Kanetsune:
                                          I bought both the 8" KC-102 and KC-202 models, & used both until I sold the 202 to a friend. The fit/finish was better on the plastic-handled 202 model, but the weight, balance, comfort/feel was much better for me on the wood-handled 102 model.

                                          It appears as though they've taken a big jump in price (up from $167 to $241!!), & as much as I like my Kanetsune, I don't know that I'd recommend one at this price. I'd more readily buy a Miyabi Birchwood 8" gyuto (does SLT still sell these? I can't get their website to take any actions).

                                          Anyway, just an aside...

                                      2. re: ukjason

                                        "My only problem is i live in Vancouver Canada and I might be paying more here."

                                        Hey ukjason.As a fellow Canadian(Toronto)I feel your pain..You will pay more,no way around it(shipping,duty,taxes)

                                        After a quick Google search,I found this Vancouver Japanese knife purveyor


                                        Or you could check out Knifewear from Calgary.


                                        1. re: petek

                                          Thanks i too just found the and i'm going tomorrow to take a look see.

                                          I have been noticing a lot of tv chef using Misono UX10

                                          1. re: ukjason

                                            "Misono UX10"

                                            Great knife, but too expensive given the recent price hike (People, the price hike is still there, right?)

                                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                              "Great knife, but too expensive given the recent price hike"
                                              Agree with can get a way better knife for less.Just because a tv chef uses one, doesn't mean they're good..I have heard good things about the Misono Swedish Steel line though.

                                            2. re: ukjason

                                              I have a UX10 gyuto (240 mm) and like it, but do keep in mind that it's not the easiest knife to sharpen (I've heard this from others as well). The price has definitely gone up - mine was ~ $180 in 2007; looks like it's around $330 for the same size from most of the online places. The smaller ones are a bit more affordable, but still expensive. The 440 series is within the OP's price range.

                                          2. re: ukjason

                                            Shiki also looks ok. A fellow poster bought it and like it and found it to be very beautiful.


                                        2. Most folks are familiar with the Wusthof Classic. Biggest question of all is what did you think about it?

                                          Depending your pros and cons it gives a baseline to suggest others to consider.

                                          cowboyardee had a lot of good info to chew on.

                                          Did the more pronounced "belly" feel like a positive thing compared to your slicer?

                                          "Finally, the quality of your knife is less important that the quality (and regularity) of your knife maintenance and sharpening. If you don't have a sharpening strategy in mind, you should look into one."

                                          That is a critical thing right there.


                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: knifesavers

                                            Thanks jim

                                            The wusthof classic did feel a bit heavy and thick on the back end, the curve blade had it's bonuses.

                                            My slicer that i wanna replace has a flatter blade so i think a japanese style might suit me more

                                            1. re: ukjason

                                              Sounds like going with a J knife is the right path.

                                              Mine are in the pic. I have used the Wusthof Grand Prix for about 15 years. Feels like part of my arm. I got the Grand Prix II on sale and despised it. The handle doesn't fit my hand worth a damn.
                                              In the center is my newest an F Dick Premier plus. The handle feels perfect in my hand and is a 9" and has a flatter profile than the original Wusthof.

                                              For carbon steel light goodness I have a Robinson 8" that is about 1/3 lighter than the Germans. 6.5 ounces versus 9.5


                                          2. Let me answer your question first:
                                            I use several knives, but the one I like the most (not used the most) is a $40 carbon steel Chinese style slicer cleaver (CCK KF 1303). The second knife I like the most is a ~$270 Aogami (blue) carbon steel core Japanese style nakiri (Watanabe Nakiri).
                                            You have gotten some excellent advices here. One thing which cowboyardee mentioned cannot be overstated: 'the quality of your knife is less important than the quality (and regularity) of your knife maintenance and sharpening'

                                            If you want a typical Chef’s knife under $50, I say a Victorinox/Forchner or a Dexter-Russell stamp knife.

                                            If you want something under $100, I suggest a Messermeister for German style or a Tojiro DP for Japanese style:




                                            If you want something under $200 like you first stated, then you have many choices out there. If $200 is your budge, then I would buy a <$150 knife and spend $50 on sharpening tools.

                                            I like Japanese style knives for the same reasons as cowboy and Eiron.

                                            Three good questions for you to think about:
                                            Do I like Western style knives or Japanese style knives?
                                            Would I want a stainless steel knife or a carbon steel knife?
                                            How will I sharpen the new knife?

                                            4 Replies
                                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                              Thank you for your input.
                                              I am going to try and put as many japanese knife in my had to feel them out before I buy. I like your budget idea to spend on a sharpening tool

                                              1. re: ukjason


                                                One last thing -- do not simply rely on how a knife feels in your hand. It can be misleading. Even if you think comfort is very important to you, you want to feel the knife when it is cutting, when it is in action. I bet if you hold the knives you have at home, they all feel good in the hand, but they may not live up to your expectation when you cut with them.

                                                Think of it like cars. To test a car, you don't simply want to know how it feels when you sit in it idle. You want to feel it when you drive it.

                                                1. re: ukjason

                                                  Hi I see that no one has mentioned a European shaped Japanese knife made by an American company in Japan. Al Mar knives are better known for self defense. The late Al Mar
                                                  was a knife maker in Oregon. His lines of knives have some of the best looking consumer available, above that are the custom made and art knives.This is a link to a web page showing an 8" chefs knife with a Damascus blade and Cocobolo handle.


                                                  I have no connection to this site in fact it was the first one that came up in the search. I have three Al Mar pocket knives and they show really fine workmanship.

                                                  1. re: MrKeith7

                                                    There's an (overly?)exhaustive discussion of japanese knives here: