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Cheap but decent knives for single, irresponsible guy

I need help with Christmas shopping for my son. He's 26, single, an engineer and just got his first apartment.

Over Thanksgiving I asked for his Christmas list. (It doesn't matter how old my kids get, I'll always ask.) He said he would love two things, some decent cookware and knives. Last year my daughter bought him some excellent Crate & Barrel dinnerware and glasses, so he's good on that front, but he's been using his cousin's castaway cheap pots and pans and he's not happy with them.

My son's zodiac sign is Taurus, which is fitting, because he is the proverbial bull in a china shop. He's not delicate. He doesn't go easy on anything. But he likes his food. When he cooks, he doesn't follow recipes. He tends to just peel, slice, dice, throw some olive oil in a pan, crank the heat up and voila.

I wanted to get him a decent, durable cookware set that didn't break the bank. Because shipping was free,I bought this set on Amazon: Cuisinart MCP-12 MultiClad Pro Stainless Steel 12-Piece Cookware Set. I read reviews on CH and numerous posters said it was a good set. At $214 it was priced well. I also picked up three cans of Barkeeper's Friend for Cookware to hopefully get him off the right start for pan care.

Knives are more challenging.

I just ordered a Blue Jean Chef 7" Kyotsu Knife with Micarta Denim Handle, from QVC. It was on clearance for $12. But now I'm feeling guilty. I wonder if it will be good quality and helpful for his slicing and dicing.

So now I am thinking about a set. The colorful Kuhn Rikon Kolori and Komachi knife sets caught my eye. People who bought them said they were sharp, but many have cut themselves accidently. I know my son, and let's just say that concerns me...a lot. Because he is not the type to properly care for or sharpen his knives, he needs something easy to use but can do the job. I'd also like to get him a set of four decent steak knives.

Any advice you can offer would be most appreciated. Thank you so much!

Link to the Kyotsu kinfe:

http://www.qvc.com/qic/qvcapp.aspx/vi...

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  1. Victorinox Fibrox might do the trick: affordable, tough, good value. A chefs and a paring might be all he needs.
    E.g.,
    http://www.cutleryandmore.com/victori...

    4 Replies
    1. re: Kagemusha

      +1 on the Vicotrinox Fibrox. Fits the ticket exactly, and if he breaks it, you get another one.

      1. re: arashall

        I own this one and am buying another for my son for Christmas.
        http://www.amazon.com/Victorinox-4052...

        1. re: AreBe

          Adding my vote to this, too. They're decently priced, but still really good knives.

      2. re: Kagemusha

        You know your son well so yes - a decent STAINLESS knife is the way to go. For the price point, Victorinox is highly appropriate. Henckles Internatoinal has a very nice dual santoku set for $20 that is quite impressive - they are VERY sharp and are stainless. I got this for my folks last year and they are most impressive for the money.

        Avoid sets, unless it's a set of 2, one larger and one smaller knife. For your son at this point - ONE decent chefs knife or santoku will do the trick.

        An inexpensive $10 or less pull-through sharpener is the correct choice for him at this point also. He'll probably use it since it's simple. Until he gets INTO cooking and merits a good knife and will care for it, it doesn't make sense to get a good sharpener.

      3. A Victorinox Chef's knife or a Dexter-Russell Chef's knife is good -- if you want to get him another Chef's knife.

        1. I will also hop on the Victorinox Forschner brand. I bought a Santoku knife from the local kitchen supply warehouse for $50 a few years ago. That was a stretch for me then but I have never, ever regretted it. It is my knife of choice for all tasks. No long use the chef's knife, slicing knife or an of the other in my set of Henckels, save for the occasional use of the bread knife. You might consider also a few gift certificates to his local knife sharpener and, of course, a sharpening steel.

          Merry Christmas!

          1. Sets are generally overkill, as others have said a chef's and paring can handle almost every task. A butcher's steel would keep the knives in nice shape for a while and he may recognize that a sharp knife benefits from a little maintenance.

            1. Wow, thanks for those quick and excellent responses. The Victorinox Fibrox chef knife looks fine and the price is right. They also have a paring knife I could get with it.

              Now, which size? 8, 10, or 12? Any suggestions? I'm thinking 12 will probably be more than necessary. Not sure about 8 or 10.

              I'll keep the Blue Jean Kyotsu knife for myself.

              Thanks!

              20 Replies
              1. re: TrishUntrapped

                You would be hard pressed to find better than the sale at Cutlery and More on the 125 year Victorinox set. 4 knives for $60

                http://www.cutleryandmore.com/victori...

                1. re: knifesavers

                  Wow, the price is very good for that five-piece set, $59 plus free shipping....

                  1. re: knifesavers

                    Oh, that's nice.

                    I bought a friend the 8" chef's knife for Christmas, then gave it to him for Thanksgiving so he could cook.

                    What is the story about giving someone a knife = bad luck? I read that here after giving this knife to my friend. I told him he has to give me a penny next time I see him.

                    1. re: Jay F

                      I think you're not supposed to give knives as a wedding gift. It's considered bad luck. I found that out the hard way years ago when I gave steak knives to a friend at a wedding shower and the older women were horrified.

                      1. re: TrishUntrapped

                        Oh, I hope you're right, Trish. It wasn't a wedding gift.

                        1. re: TrishUntrapped

                          She was horrified that you didn't put money on top of the knife gift :D

                        2. re: Jay F

                          It's an Asian tradition that you never give a knife (or scissors) as a gift as it symbolizes the severing of the relationship. That's why the giver usually asks for a token payment in return.

                          1. re: ahack

                            I think it is a Asian concept, but not exclusive to Asians. In other words, many other cultures also view negatively of knife gift.

                            1. re: ahack

                              hmmm my japanese girlfriend gave me a knife as a gift with no token in return, is she trying to tell me something :p

                              1. re: TeRReT

                                Asian culture allows gifts of knife. As the recipient of knife. You are expected to give a coin in excange it is a symbol (token) to give the recipient good luck and prevent problems with the knife.

                                1. re: TeRReT

                                  :P

                                  Naplestan is correct. But I want to spell out just a little more.

                                  In some East-Asian cultures, they view a knife gift as a bad omen. Not all do, but some do. They cannot accept a knife gift especially on big occasions like a wedding or New Year. To get around this problem, the recipient can buy the knife from the giver, so now the gift has become a purchase. So ultimately it is about the recipient buying the knife from the giver – how much to pay does not matter. To make this easier for the recipient, the giver can tape a small token on the knife gift. This makes it easier for the recipient.

                                  Keep in mind, this transaction of the token or coin or cash… should be done on the spot. It isn’t just about taping a coin on the box. You cannot just tape a coin on box, and leave the gift hidden somewhere at corner. You don’t want the recipient to find out days later that he/she has a knife gift.

                                  In your case, she is trying to tell you something without the attached token/coin. She is waiting for you to give her that thing, ya know? ;)

                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                    It's not just Asian cultures; European and wasp culture too. Now, here's a confession: I am not a superstitious person at all, but this one I am paranoid about. My mother brought me back a Henckle knife from Germany for my 15th birthday. Not knowing anything about the tradition I did not pay her for it, and she despises superstition anyway so she wouldn't have gone along. Within one 6 months I had left home and my family did not really speak to me again until I was 29.

                                    1. re: dianne0712

                                      Wow, did she buy you anything else? Or do you think the knife was the only thing which stands out.

                          2. re: TrishUntrapped

                            I agree with others. Try to avoid those 6+ pieces set. The Chef knife plus paring knife ( 2 pieces set) is good though. In term of length, it is really personal. Some tall people like small knife, and some short people like long knife. In general -- that is in general, the 8" is the most common household Chef knife, but some people do like it a bit larger at 10". 12" is really more of a professional knife.

                            In addition, your knife length should not be big compare to your cutting board. There is little need to use a 12" knife on a 10" cutting board.

                            1. re: TrishUntrapped

                              I'll also recommend the Victorinox Fibrox stuff. (I bought a 7" santoku & 3-1/4" parer to give to both of the kids when they moved into their own places.)

                              I'd say get him the 8" chef & the parer to start (it's the most popular size, & the best size for most people to start with), but that $60 Anniversary Set (that knifesavers found) is a screaming deal.

                              1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                Unless he's got one of those huge kitchens dreams are made of, anything bigger than 8' just gets in the way IMO. I cook professionally and have only once wished for a longer knife, and I think I dealing with a sub primal cut of meat. At home, I often reach for a 6" for chopping a small amount of veg and herbs for two people.

                                I haven't used Victorinox, but if your budget is higher the Wusthof Ikon knives are nice, hold their edge relatively well, and can take a beating. I use them at home because I know my husband will use them and doesn't wash them right away. I plan on getting an 8' chefs, 6' santoku, and 3' pairing for my parents for Christmas. The only other knife your son might need is a bread knife. Save the extra money that you'd spend on a block set and get him a honing steel and a magnetic strip or an in-drawer organizer for his knives. I've also heard wonderful things (on this website and elsewhere) about the Kiwi knives. They are dirt cheap and are supposed to hold their edge well. You might want to tell him to look up you-tube videos on how to use a honing steel and basic knife skills. I'm guessing since he's an engineer (like my dad) he has an innate need to do things properly.

                                Lastly, that set you got him is very good quality for the price. I purchased a similar Cuisinart set a few years ago (fully clad, tri-ply, 18/10 stainless steel) and it has proved a great bang for my buck! All Clad are great quality and so beautiful, but the handles are so uncomfortable! Another gift idea (for another occasion, obv) is to get him one non-stick Scan Pan. Then he'd be pretty much set :)

                                1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                  If you want to buy him a Forschner set this is what I would suggest. It has a chefs knife, a paring knife, shears, boning knife, a slicer and a steel a all in a very nice block. 8 piece set, http://www.cutleryandmore.com/victori...

                                  A 8" chefs knife a 4" parking knife and a steel, purchased ala carte is also a great idea.

                                  1. re: Kelli2006

                                    Seems like overkill - we're talking about $150 here! Sure, the kid likes to cook but he's not a chef. One or two truly decent knives - plus enthusiasm and creativity - is really all he needs right now.

                                    The set that I got for my folks is this:
                                    http://www.amazon.com/Henckels-Intern...

                                    At the time I got it, I think it was more like $30 but now it's less than $20 and probably available at many department stores also. These are VERY sharp, out of the box, and would be mostly all your son needs for quite some time, plus something to keep them sharp.

                                    Any cheap paring knife will do. For that matter a sharp steak knife can substitute for a paring knife and he may or may not really need one, depending on how he cooks. I only use mine a bit here and there. But I use my Santoku every single time I cook.

                                    I would not recommend buying your son a steel. He would be much better off having just a simple pull through sharpener - that way the angles are pre-determined. It's pretty easy to mis-use a steel. Real honing is best done on a strop anyway.

                                  2. re: TrishUntrapped

                                    If it's not too late, definitely the 8". My 8" chef's knife probably does 80% of the work in the kitchen, and unless I'm carving the Thanksgiving turkey or the Christmas roast the 12" never comes out of the drawer.

                                  3. I've heard it said many times that even a professional chef cooking at home only needs 4 good knives: a paring knife, a carving knife, an 8" chef's knife and a bread knife. That's the advice I've seen from people who produce decent culinary educational material for home cooks (Jamie Oliver, Gordon Ramsay, etc.). Plus he would need a steel as well for honing.

                                    If your son is asking for good cookware and good knives, he sounds like he knows what he's doing. The two things that are hard to overcome in a home kitchen, and still turn out fine food, are bad cookware and bad knives. I would not get him stamped knives, but look for forged knives.

                                    If price is a concern, maybe you can focus on the few knives he does need. Instead of spending more for a set that includes pieces you don't need, you can find him 4 good forged knives for the price of a stamped set. If you hunt for deals on individual knives, you can get steep discounts. Since you're already getting him a lot of stuff, maybe just a good chef's knife, a paring knife and a steel is enough.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: AsperGirl

                                      Thanks AsperGirl, good advice and that's what I'm going to do, just get him a couple good knives.

                                    2. Personally, I don't like cookware sets much. I find that often times they come with items that are seldom used. I prefer to go to some place like TJ Maxx and get individual pieces. Around here, San Francisco, they seem to get a lot of Calphalon, All-Clad, and Cuisinart cookware in both non-stick and stainless. Every once in a while they get a bunch of copper stuff and cast iron too (Le Creuset dutch ovens included). They have a lot of other less expensive stuff like disc bottom pans and such too. I think the last time I looked, a Calphalon 12" non-stick was something like $20 or $30 with a lid. Just something else to consider.

                                      I've picked up a few forged Calphalon and Henckels Pro S and Four Star knives from TJ Maxx also. I think the Calphalon 8" chef knife was under $20. The blade says German steel and made in China if you care.

                                      I have various ceramic cups, plates, bowls, etc that are made in Japan, France, Portugal, Germany, Italy from the same place.

                                      Just keep in mind that this really only works well if you don't mind that your kitchen doesn't match.

                                      1. you can throw in a couple of these kiwi knives for good measure. They're cheap and a joy to use. My globals sit in a drawer now.

                                        http://www.wokshop.com/wordpress/inde...

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: seamunky

                                          Liking the look of that kiwi cleaver... for myself even.... Boy, I'm glad I posted this thread. Learning about all kinds of knives I never knew about.

                                          1. re: seamunky

                                            I'm hearing really good things about kiwi knives.

                                            1. re: seamunky

                                              This link may work better. Here:

                                              http://www.wokshop.com/HTML/products/...

                                              I have the pleasure of sharpening one for a friend and use it. It is not bad for its price. If you have only $10 budge, then I definitely pick a Kiwi knife over any of the KitchenAid or Henckel International knives.

                                            2. I don't know if they are decent, but cheap they are (in price, possibly ok quality). This has it all!

                                              https://www.ronco.com/products/sixsta...

                                              5 Replies
                                              1. re: dcrb

                                                dcrb, they sure are cheap... What one purchaser said:

                                                "All I can say is that I paid for this stuff, and hardly care if it slowly disappears from the bottom of the dishwasher, or doesn't come back from picnics. Truly pathetic merchandise. The blades stay sharp for a single meal. They are far from ergodynamic. They are so unbalanced that they almost jump out of the damn dishwasher, always fall off of plates or out of bowls, cups or whatever you might think you are placing them in. The metal on the software is so soft that they easily bend on ice cream, peanut butter, etc., and when they do, the faux wood handles crack and fall off. Truly pathetic design, construction and robs pleasure from every damn meal served with or eaten with. This stuff is GARBAGE. "

                                                1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                                  My grandmother used to say that one should not give a knife because it "cut's your love." She didn't really believe that, of course, but when giving a knife as a gift, she would always tape a penny on the package.

                                                  I think it's a fun tradition.

                                                  1. re: laredo

                                                    In the case you give someone a set of Ronco six stars cutlery, you need to tape a $100 bill. Get it? :D

                                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                      Hey, It comes with a second set! I think $40.00 is plenty to spend on someone who is "irresponsible". It isn't the gift, but the thought. In any event, I was only somewhat serious. The Victorinox set from Cutlery and More referenced above has 3 decent to knives in it. Fibrox handles. The paring knife however is flimsy. We have the set. Quite serviceable.

                                                      1. re: dcrb

                                                        "It isn't the gift, but the thought"

                                                        :D

                                                        " In any event, I was only somewhat serious."

                                                        I know, which is why I didn't respond initially. :)

                                              2. Trish, I would suggest a step up from the Victorinox Fibrox line and suggest the Forschner/Victorinox with Rosewood handles. I have both and they are similar except the Forschner/Rosewood has a more upscale look.

                                                Other options include some commercial lines like Update International full tang, forged, riveted knives.

                                                http://www.foodservicewarehouse.com/u...

                                                I have 9 knives in my work knife roll from a Chinese Clever to a Paring and everything in between. Around 95% of the time I use a 10 inch Chef's knife. At home I don't think more than about 8 inches is needed in a Chef's knife. The 2nd most used tool is a Kuhn Y peeler, 3rd a bread knife and 4th a pocket knife to open stuff up (and can double as a paring).

                                                I can't remember the last time I used a Paring knife. I use a Chef's knife in place of a Paring. But a Paring knife is cheap so I suppose it doesn't hurt to have one.

                                                I seen the Kiwi's at an Asian store and for a little more I would get the Update International line in the link I posted above which is a major upgrade over the Kiwi knives.

                                                1. Nthing Forschner (I have a wood-handle 10"), but the Mundial forged line is also a good value, and looks a bit more like a classic German style chef's knife. A good lightweight Chinese cleaver like a CCK 1303 is also not a bad way to go.

                                                  I agree with not giving the knife as a gift - at least make him pay you $1.

                                                  2 Replies
                                                    1. re: will47

                                                      will47, I agree the Mundial looks like a nice knife over the Forschner
                                                      http://www.cutleryandmore.com/mundial...

                                                      However one key negative for me is that the thick bolster extends all the way to the blade. This makes it difficult to sharpen the entire blade of the knife. It's nice if you want to crack chicken bones with that part but to sharpen the entire blade it (bolster) gets in the way and as the knife is thinned over time the blade will become uneven.

                                                      For a similar style knife to Mundial forged line it's hard to beat the price of the $15 Update International forged Chef's knives I posted.

                                                    2. One worry -there are many posts suggesting knives with some mentioning sharpening. Invest a little less in the knives and give him some sort of a knife sharpener that you think he will use. If, he will never sharpen, then, I don't know, perhaps serrated. I don't believe I said that. ;)

                                                      Still, I don't want to believe that he won't sharpen, no matter how easy.

                                                      16 Replies
                                                      1. re: rosetown

                                                        O.K., I'm open to that. What kind of knife sharpener?

                                                        Also, you all are getting me a little sentimental thinking about knives. I got my mom a Wilkinson sword knife years and years ago (o.k. another time I was guilty of giving a knife for a present, how on earth did these people survive the bad luck) and it was pretty darn cheap, but it was also so sharp she nearly cut her thumb off. It had a self-sharpening sheath which really made the blade like a razor. For the heck of it I just now googled Wilkinson sword knives and found a pair on e-bay. $19.99. I might just get it for myself for the memory...

                                                        http://www.ebay.com/itm/VINTAGE-1970s...

                                                        1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                                          No, get better knives then Wilkinson, in spite of sentiment.

                                                          At worst, a 2 stage sharpener like the one pictured below. It cost me less than 10 dollars. I give these to acquaintances who never sharpen their knives. It's only useful if you think your son will use it.

                                                           
                                                          1. re: rosetown

                                                            For a sharpener like the one pictured I would be looking at stamped knives with a decent profile such as a European chefs knife, or a santuko. Definitely no Wilkinson.

                                                            Still, maybe you misjudge your son. He might want and care for a good knife. Times sometimes change. :)

                                                            1. re: rosetown

                                                              After sleeping on it, I won't be wasting my money on the sentimental Wilkinson. I will get my son a knife sharpener though. Since he is serious about cooking, which is why he asked for these things, I do have hope he will care for them. What brand of sharpener is that Rosetown?

                                                              1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                                                This is a decent "young single guy" sharpener:
                                                                http://www.bladehq.com/item--Gerber-C...
                                                                I like it because it uses ceramic rods for both stages.

                                                                The Wusthof models are nice too, but I'd be careful about buying any sharpener that uses steel carbides as one of the two stages. Wusthof also sells an "Asian" knife sharpener, with a more acute sharpening angle for their santoku knives, that looks decent:
                                                                http://www.amazon.com/Wusthof-Asian-E...

                                                                1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                                                  It's a store brand in Canada - I did see something similar in Homesense (canadian)
                                                                  for 12 dollars. It was a name brand 2 stage using ceramic in both stages. I believe Homesense is owned by TJ Max.

                                                                2. re: rosetown

                                                                  I ended up buying a Chef's Choice compact diamond hone knife sharpener. Originally priced at $14.99, with all my Macy's discounts it cost $5. But it seems like it should do the job, initially anyway. Thanks for the tip Rosetown.

                                                                   
                                                                  1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                                                    Trish.

                                                                    I had one of these manual pulled through Chef's Choice knife sharpener. It did work, but not for too long. For your son, I think it is sufficient, just don't expect it will last several years.

                                                                    1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                                                      Congratulations on the knife and sharpener purchase. It sure beats what I had in my kitchen 40 years ago, when I was his age. My sharpener was the back end of a electric can opener with 2 slots to grind opposite sides of the knife. A year or so later I purchased a Henkels chef knife, carver, and steel. Besides honing with the steel, I would create a new edge with the can opener - shudder. It was my only sharpener for many, many years. Your son starts out miles ahead.

                                                                      Oh, I just stumbled across your topic ‘Apple pie 101’. I had to mention it - you are a rock star. ;)

                                                                      1. re: rosetown

                                                                        Ha! Been called many things but never a rock star, love it!

                                                                  2. re: TrishUntrapped

                                                                    I picked up a chef's knife version of these at the local thrift store for $2.99 ;-)
                                                                    It included the self-sharpening sheath, which I threw away. (sorry)

                                                                    1. re: Eiron

                                                                      You threw away the whole thing or just the self-sharpening sheath?

                                                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                        It was the sheath - I picked it up - I'm waiting for the knife.

                                                                        1. re: rosetown

                                                                          Ha ha ha. It took me a few seconds to get the joke. :D

                                                                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                            LOL - only the sheath. I actually bought the knife for a friend who had the exact same one, but hers had a crack in the blade. When I re-profiled hers to remove the crack it made the blade less tall. I just happened to find the same knife while cruising the housewares aisle at the thrift store. So bought it as a "full sized" replacement. Of course, I couldn't give it to her without sharpening it first. And that sheath would only make it less sharp that what I was doing.

                                                                            1. re: Eiron

                                                                              "And that sheath would only make it less sharp that what I was doing."

                                                                              Oh. Now it makes sense. Got it, got it.

                                                                3. I have 2 grown sons that are on their own. We helped set them up with good quality cookware and decent cutlery. What a waste! True to form, they abuse everything that has to do with food prep. In hindsight, I should have just given them the cheapest knives from Target or Sears. Eventually they'll "get it", and buy their own decent stuff, and take care of it. Stainless steel makes good sense, but by all means, avoid anything that can't soak in a dirty sink for a few days. Good luck.

                                                                  Larry

                                                                  10 Replies
                                                                  1. re: larrycuneo

                                                                    Larry, thanks for the insight. I feel your pain, I have two grains of hope. One, he asked for these items in all sincerity because he likes to eat good food so hopefully if he gets quality items he will indeed care for them. And two, he has a great job and could buy these things in his sleep, he doesn't need to ask us for them. But since he did ask, maybe he values our opinion. The fact we're getting him good quality things will mean something to him. Maybe my son is growing up? FIngers crossed.

                                                                    1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                                                      Trish, perhaps he's already seen this "Cooking for Engineers" knife review?

                                                                      Since you're doing all this research, it's probably not a bad idea for you to read it too, just to talk with him about it. :-)

                                                                      http://www.cookingforengineers.com/ar...

                                                                      1. re: Eiron

                                                                        Good article, thanks so much for sharing it!

                                                                        1. re: Eiron

                                                                          "it's probably not a bad idea for you to read it too, just to talk with him about it. :-) "

                                                                          Did I just detect another of your subtle humor or am I imagining about it?

                                                                          It is pretty funny -- assuming I am not imagining: the whole talk to son things about love and girl...etc.

                                                                            1. re: SanityRemoved

                                                                              :D You have a great sense of humor too. I love this one. Read a little knife article online, so it will "prepare" you to talk to your son about the knives and the birds. How when a knife loves a bird (chicken). How to do it safely by hold the knife using the correct method. Ha ha ha ha.

                                                                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                Umm... I think I'll have father do it....

                                                                                ;-)

                                                                            2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                              "Did I just detect another of your subtle humor or am I imagining about it?"

                                                                              LOL - sorry, it's your imagination this time!
                                                                              I was actually thinking that since Trish's son is an engineer, she might want to read thru it just so that she could refer to it in conversations with him, when discussing things like what motivated him to ask for knives. I was also thinking that, as an engineer, he might've already seen that review, & having Trish read it would make him realize all of the research she's done to arrive at her gift decision.

                                                                              Or maybe I'm just thinking too much... :-D

                                                                              1. re: Eiron

                                                                                Oh.... I see. Man, you are so unpredictable. Some time you have these little humors that I have to look closely too. Now, I think I am just trying to look too deep into everything you said -- leading to me imaging things. At the end.... it is still your fault :P

                                                                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                  "Man, you are so unpredictable."

                                                                                  Just chalk it up to the theater side of my personality! :-D

                                                                        1. TrishUntrapped,

                                                                          "Cook's Illustrated" had a terrific evaluation of knife sets in the November/December 2011 issue. Although it is only December 2 now, "Cooks Illustrated" regards it as "last month's issue" and is promoting its January/February 2012 issue on its website. There is a place you can click on to review past issues, but it is in small print and a little hard to find. (It's on the left hand side of the first page which you come to.) There is also a video you can click on which gives you much useful information.

                                                                          The bottom line was that they did not like knife sets because they said that retailers wanted more pieces so that a consumer could count the pieces and conclude that he/she was getting a good deal. Therefore, the knife manufacturers created new knife styles, just to be able to add to the sets. Generally, these are called "utility knives," but are sometimes labeled with specific names, like "tomato knife," "citrus knife," or "sandwich knife." According to the magazine, these knives are just filler and relatively useless. A chef's knife did a better job in every instance in which they tested these additional knives.

                                                                          Also, to increase the number of knives, the manufacturers had to cut back somewhere to reach the price point required by the retailers, so the manufacturers shortened the lengths of some of the knives. For instance, the ten inch bread knife became an eight inch bread knife, which the magazine said was useless for cutting many loaves of bread because the width of the bread is wider than the width of the knife.

                                                                          "Cooks'" solution was to put together its own "a la carte" bargain knife set, consisting of the following: 3 and 1/4 inch Victorinox Fibrox paring knife ($4.95), 8 inch Victorinox Fibrox Chef's knife ($29.95), 10 and 1/4 inch Victorinox Fibrox curved blade bread knife ($24.95), 12 inch Granton edge Victorinox Fibrox slicing knife ($49.95), 6 inch Victorinox Fibrox straight boning knife ($19.95), Bodum Bistro Universal knife block ($44.95), and J.A. Henckels International kitchen shears ($14.95).

                                                                          Interestingly, the magazine does not really recommend even an "a la carte" set like the above, concluding that you only need to have three knives: an 8 inch chef's knife, a paring knife, and a bread knife, although they did like the scissors for dealing with deboning chickens. Everything else is just frippery!

                                                                          1. I 33'd (or whatever number we're up to on the recommendations) the Victorinox with Fibrox handle. The Victorinox, like all Victorinox knives, is pretty cheap and a good value. It is a thin blade that slices well. So as an engineer he will appreciate that it works.

                                                                            It is a synthetic handle and a stainless steel blade so he can toss it into the dishwasher with no second thoughts, which is probably every bit as important.. The dishwaswher will eventually harm a wooden handled knife.

                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                            1. re: Shann

                                                                              Shann, good point I sharpen my knives (belt sander/fine stone), hand wash, store in individual sheaths, and occasionally mineral oil the wood handles. I should not expect someone else to do the same so the Victorinox/Fibrox is a nice set for someone who does not take the same care as some of us do but there are similar knives for less money.

                                                                              I doubt that CI tested the Commercial lines of Update International, Russell or Dexter knives. I have two Victorinox knives; an 8 inch filet and a paring and I also have Update International knives. They each have a similar stamped knives, yet the Update are much less expensive. For $25 one can get an 8 inch Chef's knife ($7), 10 in bread knife ($6), a Paring ($3) and a 12 in slicer ($7).

                                                                              The slicer is here: http://www.katom.com/370-KP07.html

                                                                              Btw, Victorinox Paring is a cheap flimsy knife and get's used just to open plastic packages.

                                                                              1. re: bbqJohn

                                                                                Btw, Victorinox Paring is a cheap flimsy knife and get's used just to open plastic packages.

                                                                                -----

                                                                                really? I love the victorinox paring knife, thats an industry standard, everyone uses them, they are nice thin blades, sharp enough and do their job well. I've had no problem with them being flimsy when I use them.

                                                                                1. re: TeRReT

                                                                                  I rarely use a paring knife but besides the Victorinox I also have this one below. Between the two there is little to compare. The Update is a far superior knife.

                                                                                  http://www.katom.com/370-KGE01.html

                                                                                  1. re: TeRReT

                                                                                    Biggest problem with the forschner paring knife is the handle is comically tiny, even the 'large handle' version.

                                                                                    I doesn't seem as sharp out of the box as the forschner chefs knife, but it sharpens up well enough.

                                                                                    It is a little flexible, but I don't see that as much of a problem for a paring knife, unless you just really prefer a stiff knife regardless.

                                                                              2. A friend passed along the December 2011 issue of Food & Wine Magazine, which I rarely read, but there is a feature article about the Schmidt Brothers who are trying to create affordable, quality knives. I am no expert, but I find the idea of good value and performance attractive, so perhaps some of the cutlery mavens can offer their thoughts.

                                                                                www.schmidtbrotherscutlery.com

                                                                                1. I ordered the Victorinox Forschner 5-pc. 125th Anniversary Limited Edition Knife Set $59.95, free shipping, from Cutlery and More. Good, one more thing in the done pile. I will also get a knife sharpener for him.

                                                                                  Everyone who posted on this thread: I can not thank you enough for your patience and willingness to share your expertise. I had no clue what to do and I truly appreciate your help. Now if any of you ever need help making pie crust or chocolate almond lace cookies, I'm your gal.

                                                                                  1. Hi again. Thought I would show you the Blue Jean Kyotsu knife that arrived yesterday from QVC. (Link in my initial post). I am keeping it for myself.

                                                                                    First impression: I love this knife! It seems well made. The blade is heavyish and without pre-sharpening it sliced through an orange quickly and very cleanly, boom. The handle is very substantial and feels durable.

                                                                                    I know that knives can seem good at first and quickly turn to garbage. That has happened to me many times in the past. So we'll see how this one lasts. But basically, so far so good.

                                                                                    Also, yesterday the Victorinox Fibrox knives arrived for my son. I want to keep them packaged as a gift, so not opening them. The handles do seem on the flimsy side. However, I do think they will be a good practice run for him. Let him use them for a year, and if he is ready to upgrade I will post for help here again next Christmas...

                                                                                    You all have been so helpful. Truly appreciate it.

                                                                                     
                                                                                     
                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                                                                      I'll be very interested in hearing about your comparison of the Blue Jean to the Victorinox on the day after Christmas. :-)

                                                                                      I'm not a fan of the Fibrox handles (I own & prefer the Rosewood handled Victorinox knives), but keep in mind that they're designed for the abuse a restaurant kitchen would inflict on them. They're very durable & well-made, even if they don't appear that way next to a heavier example (eg, your new Kyotsu).

                                                                                    2. This might be off base based on price, but I think if you got him a couple decent Cutco knives that could really serve most of his cutting needs and last a lifetime, free sharpening etc. His future wife will appreciate it. Beats the heck out of a bunch of crappy knives any day.

                                                                                      42 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: charmdesign

                                                                                        Unfortunately I don't think you'll find many cutco supporters here, personally I'd rather have a set of victorinox over cutco any day

                                                                                        1. re: TeRReT

                                                                                          I wasn't knocking Victorinox, I hope it didn't come off that way. I was just suggesting ones I like. Curious about the 'around here' comment. I'm newer to the foodie world and here to learn as much as I can, but I sometimes get the feeling there is an elitist attitude.

                                                                                          1. re: charmdesign

                                                                                            as much as you weren't trying to knock victorinox i wasn't trying to be elite, around here just means on this board. There has been a lot of knife discussion, and depending on what your use and preference there is a large list of possibilities. Having followed this board a lot longer then i've been posting I've just noticed a trend in direction for knives and it tends not to be towards cutco, but there is a large number of people who use professional knives in professional kitchens to amateurs just starting, so whatever you use is fine, and as long as you keep them sharp which I guess is possible with free sharpening from cutco.

                                                                                            1. re: TeRReT

                                                                                              "Having followed this board a lot longer then i've been posting"

                                                                                              You were stalking us? :P

                                                                                              "i wasn't trying to be elite"

                                                                                              Since you suggested Victorinox in comparison to Cutco... I think it is very difficult to be mistaken that Victorinox is more elite than Cutco, not in price anyway.

                                                                                            2. re: charmdesign

                                                                                              It's not really elitist, though there can be a kind of group consensus at play. It's not that this forum looks down on cheap knives,

                                                                                              The issue with cutco is they cost WAY more than other knives made of the same quality. Their straight edge chef knives are just shoddy - the steel is too soft for good edge retention, the balance is extremely blade heavy, the factory edge is better than most (not all) cheap knives but mediocre for the price range, and - worst of all - the grind is awful - no real tapering at all and too thick behind its edge to cut easily even when it's sharp. Yet they're priced along side some real premium, high quality chefs knives.

                                                                                              Their serrated knives are better for what they are, but still way overpriced. Most of the cookware board regulars aren't a huge fan of serrated knives because you can't learn efficient cutting technique while using them and they can make a bit of a mess of some delicate foods. IMO serrated knives are a reasonable purchase for people who have neither the interest nor the will to maintain their knives regularly (I do not say that derisively - that's probably most American home cooks). This is because serrated knives tend to be cheap and have longer edge retention.

                                                                                              Their main mitigating factor is that they offer free sharpening and a lifetime warranty. For people who will actually use the sharpening service regularly, they're not as bad of a deal. But that seems to be a minority of the people who buy cutcos. Still, I suspect that even the sort who is better off with serrated knives would usually get more out of 4 or 5 forschner or dexter serrated knives than one cutco - a cutco normally costs 4 or 5 times as much as a forschner.

                                                                                              1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                I'll add:

                                                                                                I have the small (5") Cutco santoku. The factory edge was much nicer than any other knife we had in the house at that time, but Cutco knows this to be true for most US homes & takes advantage of this fact during their in-home demos.

                                                                                                Our daughter's friend was selling the knives, & she reminded us numerous times of the free sharpening service. She even said she'd do the "maintenance" sharpening herself, using the little consumer sharpener they sell. So that was an additional incentive to buy, since I didn't sharpen my own knives at that time.

                                                                                                While I agree that Cutco products are WAY overpriced for what you get (WAY, way overpriced), I can also say that our santoku has resharpened nicely & keeps its edge reasonably well. (I used both the medium & fine Spyderco ceramic bench stones to sharpen it, taking out all of the "teeth" from the factory edge.)

                                                                                                I've since sharpened a co-worker's Cutco knives that hadn't been sharpened in over 10 yrs. She'd been using one of those little roll-across-the-table gritstones, & both of her knives had become very toothy (almost serrated) from years of this treatment. They returned to a nice edge, & I gave her a little ceramic-rod pull-thru sharpener to replace her rolling gritstone. That was about 6 mos ago, & she says they're still so sharp that they don't need more sharpening yet. (I have no idea how sharp they actually still are.)

                                                                                                But, as CBAD & TeRReT have pointed out, most Cutco buyers are not going to be the type of owner who will hand sharpen their knives. That's not Cutco's market target.

                                                                                                1. re: Eiron

                                                                                                  One of the upsides of the 440a steel that cutco uses is that it's not hard to sharpen to a fairly decent edge. Thing is, it voids the cutco warranty if you even attempt to sharpen their knives at home, so that's not a big factor for most of their customers.

                                                                                                  You also mention their in-home demos. I actually think that is a big part of the reason people feel so comfortable dismissing their products - their marketing pitch is absolutely filled with mis-information ('it's not serrated, it's double D!"), and their business strategy as a whole has screwed over many semi-enterprising college students, which is why so many of their knives wind up getting sold to sympathetic family members and friends of Cutco salesmen.

                                                                                                  1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                    "their business strategy as a whole has screwed over many semi-enterprising college students"

                                                                                                    What? Really? Is it that the students first buy the knives from Cutco and then sell them? I just thought the students were employed as salepersons like the Verizon dudes knocking my door.

                                                                                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                      http://www.ripoffreport.com/home-base...

                                                                                                      There are plenty of cutco salesmen who have made good money selling their knives, so it's not like everyone who takes a job as a salesman is getting screwed. More so, it's just that Vector is said to misrepresent itself to potential salesmen. I have no personal experience selling their knives, btw.

                                                                                                    2. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                      "You also mention their in-home demos. I actually think that is a big part of the reason people feel so comfortable dismissing their products..."

                                                                                                      Yeah, sorta the Kirby vacuum salesmen or our time, eh?

                                                                                                      What I was thinking was, their demo is set up to take advantage of the average person's poorly maintained knives. When I saw the "demo items" being spread out on our dining table, I picked knives that would perform the Cutco examples best. The response from the salesperson was, "Wow, your knives are pretty sharp!" In reality, they were probably only a little better than what she was normally given during her demos.

                                                                                                      1. re: Eiron

                                                                                                        It would throw a pretty funny curveball to a cutco salesman if your knives were as sharp as you now (presumably) tend to keep em.

                                                                                                        Also a lot of the presentation is built around showing off a few of the benefits of serrated knives - they do have some benefits, but unfortunately most people don't cut much coarse rope in the kitchen.

                                                                                                        1. re: Eiron

                                                                                                          Now that you have some pretty good knives. It will be fun to have a cutting demonstration/competition between the saleperson and you. Most likely (99.99%) your Kanetsune and Shun knives will perform better. Then, you can reverse the table and ask him to buy your knives.

                                                                                                          :P

                                                                                              2. re: charmdesign

                                                                                                Thanks charm.

                                                                                                So far so good with the Victorinox set. I bought a Cutco paring knife many moons ago from a kid selling them. It was expensive, but it was good quality and I did like the handle. Not sure why, but was never interested in buying any more.

                                                                                                1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                                                                                  Hey Trish,

                                                                                                  Any word from your son on his gift? :-)

                                                                                                  And do you have any opinions of your Blue Jean Kyotsu compared to... anything else?

                                                                                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                      Only good enough to remember that she'd identified it in an earlier post.
                                                                                                      (So I just needed to find that post. Shhhhh..... don't tell anyone....)

                                                                                                      1. re: Eiron

                                                                                                        Oh the "Dec 8, 2011 08:51 AM " post above. I missed that one. I thought you suddenly remember something months ago.

                                                                                                        Eiron. Do you have any knife on your horizon purchase? Or are you concentrating on your knife making tools/machine instead?

                                                                                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                          Chem,

                                                                                                          No, I'm not planning on any new knife purchases at the moment. (But I'll still pick up good used knives if I find them.) The next "new knife" that I'll buy will be a strip of tool steel to cut/grind my own.

                                                                                                          I'm almost done cutting/drilling/tapping all of the steel framework for the big grinder. I just purchased the "big ticket" items of the 6 pre-fab belt wheels for $300. With frame steel & fasteners, that brings my total cost so far to about $500. Not bad for the equivalent of a $2,000 grinder.

                                                                                                          Here's a pic of what all of the parts look like:

                                                                                                           
                                                                                                    2. re: Eiron

                                                                                                      Hi Eiron,

                                                                                                      So far so good with the Victorinox. I hope to be going to my son's new apartment soon and see for myself. He just moved in over Christmas so he hasn't been cooking much. He is very happy with them though, and of course I'm happy that he's happy. As for the Blue Jean knife, I like it! I've used it for a variety of things - apples, oranges, limes, chopping nuts, cutting carrots... so far so good. We'll see how it holds up in another month or so. I'll also report back on my son's experience with his knives.

                                                                                                      Here are a couple photos: The Blue Jean knife and the nuts I cut for Gooey Mixed Nut Bars, and the bars also cut with the knife.

                                                                                                  1. re: charmdesign

                                                                                                    charmdesign,

                                                                                                    Which knives are you referring to? I wouldn't call either the Cutco or Victorinox knives "crappy." And I think most knife-users here would say that the Victorinox knives would also "serve most of his cutting needs and last a lifetime" with proper care & maintenance, just like the Cutco knives.

                                                                                                    1. re: Eiron

                                                                                                      I was referring to the knives he already had on hand. A lot of average 'amateur' home cooks have a smorgasbord of random knives that collectively aren't that great. For a 'single, irresponsible guy' I thought owning a knife with a lifetime of sharpening he doesn't have to do would be good. I guess, my comment wasn't well received here, since this is a community of people who sharpen their knives regularly (or at all) (presumably).

                                                                                                      1. re: charmdesign

                                                                                                        Charm,

                                                                                                        As the OP, I appreciate your input. I like hearing different thoughts and suggestions.

                                                                                                        1. re: charmdesign

                                                                                                          " I thought owning a knife with a lifetime of sharpening he doesn't have to do would be good....I guess, my comment wasn't well received here, since this is a community of people who sharpen their knives regularly"

                                                                                                          It isn't like that. It is that Cutco's price is very high compare to its quality. So one can save the money by purchasing different knives, and can easily used that saved money for knife sharpening service or buy some sharpening equipments.

                                                                                                          1. re: charmdesign

                                                                                                            charmdesign,
                                                                                                            Ah, your intent wasn't clear to me in your original post. Sorry for any misunderstandings. I agree that the idea of "lifetime sharpening" is a good thing, but, as others have mentioned, most folks never go to the trouble of using such a thing. Perhaps you're the exception? Have you used Cutco's (or any manufacturer's) free sharpening service? I'm sure many folks here would be very interested to hear about your experiences.
                                                                                                            Also, as others have mentioned in previous threads, we are definitely NOT a community of people who sharpen knives regularly! (Although I would say that we're all here (on the Cookware forum) because we care about our kitchen tools, whatever level they may be.) I'd venture to say we are a community of people who are learning from each others' experiences. That means most of us just silently read the postings of the vocal minority. In a thread such as this one, that vocal minority is going to be predisposed to sharpening their own knives, while most others will read their comments with an unsettling mix of interest & amusement.
                                                                                                            So now that you're here, we'll expect you to participate. ;-)

                                                                                                            1. re: Eiron

                                                                                                              I agree that most people in normal life don't go the trouble of sharpening (themselves, or through a warranty such as cutco). Growing up, my family never sharpened their knives (although my mother has a honing tool and a Pampered Chef sharpener!). I decided to post on here about cutco because of the 'single guy' element of the question. My husband was in fact a single guy (who sold cutco for a summer in college). When we started living together I was must say I was pleased to be working with 'sharp' knives for the first time. Over the course of our marriage they've gotten a lot more use, and a few weeks ago we got the in-home sharpening done. For Christmas I wanted to get my parents a 'nice' knife, and I actually went out and bought Martha Stewart's latest block at Macy's figuring it's better than what they are working with. But over Thanksgiving I saw my dad enjoying using my cutco knives, and ultimately returned the block and instead purchased a cutco knife for them (the 2nd I've given them). The first knife I gave them was the cutco bread knife back in 08 and since then, it's been there most used knife, which is silly I know–and why I gave them a cutco santoku recently to diversify. But it was the best knife they owned, and the sharpest by far. I am not like, swearing by the brand as the end all be all. Heck, I own a pampered chef santoku that I adore! I can't speak to them being over priced but I suppose that value is in part what you are willing to pay for something. IMHO, I like the idea of not having to sharpen a knife, call me lazy but that sounds like it is the majority of us. If I use the cutco sharpening service every few years I consider myself ahead of the game haha. I do have interest in the topic of knives for the lay person, since I'd like to continue to expand my parents knife collection and budget is a concern. Cutco can be prohibitively expensive if one wants a variety of knives. I am interested in the prospect of knives that don't break the budget as gifts - and maybe that means doing some home sharpening from time to time!

                                                                                                              1. re: charmdesign

                                                                                                                If the cost to pack and ship back and forth ($10-$15) is considered it's more cost effective to use a local sharpening service...so the *free sharpening* is little or no advantage.

                                                                                                                Assuming one had the following options for a 8 in Chef's knife.
                                                                                                                Cutco $100
                                                                                                                MIU $20 http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/824727
                                                                                                                Tojiro DP $80

                                                                                                                One can buy the less expensive (but similar steel) knife like the MIU for $20 and be way ahead of the Cutco or go with a VG-10 knife like the Tojiro DP and still be ahead and have a far superior knife performer.

                                                                                                                Next time I get a chance to host a Cutco sales rep I will ask instead of the rope cutting demo "can we try that on shaving arm hair" while I proceed to also demo the MIU :>

                                                                                                                1. re: bbqJohn

                                                                                                                  "Next time I get a chance to host a Cutco sales rep I will ask instead of the rope cutting demo "can we try that on shaving arm hair" while I proceed to also demo the MIU :>"

                                                                                                                  :D

                                                                                                                  We all like to think we would able to it, and I think some of us even have imagined it in our heads, but most of us are just too nice to actually do something like in a real situation.

                                                                                                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                    Probably is pretty mean, I should scale it back some... it's just so questionable to use unsuspecting young people to sell to their relationships a product that is average at best but way overpriced.

                                                                                                                  2. re: bbqJohn

                                                                                                                    Funny you should mention MIU France knives. I pride myself on keeping my kitchen knives razor sharp (honing steel/ceramic stick). Thought I'd get the MIU 8" chef. I mean I thought I could sharpen a block of pig iron into a sharp implement for the kitchen. Boy was I wrong about the MIU. Nice shape but I was constantly trying to sharpen and/or reshape the edge to be useful. Never did get the knife to where I wanted it and got so exasperated that I took a file to the edge to dull it and threw it into the trash. I work with hand tools and understand that paying a lot of money for a kitchen knife may be overkill. The MIU France 8" chef was a total waste. I'm sorry I wasted my time (money was only about 10USD) on the darn thing.

                                                                                                                    1. re: big50_1

                                                                                                                      :) I guess you two have different experience with MIU France. Too bad, I have not had a chance to use one. I did just buy a KAI Pure Komachi2 Chef's knife. I don't have high expectation, but it was only $4.99.

                                                                                                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                        I found one of those in a thrift store and really like the geometry of it. Took a nice edge but I doubt it is a very strong blade.

                                                                                                                        Nice mushroom or veggie only knife.

                                                                                                                        Jim

                                                                                                                        1. re: knifesavers

                                                                                                                          I have that suspicion too. I think it is made of 420Jd or something relative unimpressed, but hey, not all 420 or 420J2 are made the same. I figure $5 is not too bad to give it a try. Thanks for your heads-up.

                                                                                                                          1. re: knifesavers

                                                                                                                            Updating you, knifesavers. I have been using the Komachi 2 for more than week. I have that I agree with your belief description. Very easy to sharpen, took on a nice edge, but does not hold the edge very long. I don't know if l like the knife geometry along the edge (edge profile), but I like the handle design and the blade thickness.

                                                                                                                            In term of blade, I would rank it lower than a Dexter-Russell or even a Kiwi knife, but in term of overall design, I may rank it above a Kiwi knife.

                                                                                                                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                              Chem, how would you rate it for value? I mean, for $5, it sounds like it would be an excellent knife for college kids who might not keep track of their stuff.

                                                                                                                              Not that THAT ever happens to college kids...

                                                                                                                              1. re: Eiron

                                                                                                                                Just going off of chem's description: I tend to view ANY knife that takes a good edge in the first place and isn't terribly designed as a good value for $5. Too many of the cheap knives available just don't sharpen well at all, and that's, for me, the main deal-breaker in cheap knives. Give a college student that and an Accusharp and they're basically in business.

                                                                                                                                Chem - how was the factory edge on that thing?

                                                                                                                                1. re: Eiron

                                                                                                                                  <Not that THAT ever happens to college kids>

                                                                                                                                  :D

                                                                                                                                  I bought the knife from Home Goods or TJ Maxx for $5. I think the official price is $9.

                                                                                                                                  http://www.amazon.com/Pure-Komachi-Se...

                                                                                                                                  I think it is a good knife if the budget is limited to $10. The knife came relatively sharp: able to slice paper, shave arm hair (somewhat). The entire knife is pretty much water proof. The nonstick surface does not really prevent foods from sticking during food preparation. However, it does make it quiet easy to clean. All of these attributes make it easier for a knife beginner than a Kiwi knife -- which is also a good knife, but much tougher to take care of. If money is not so restricted, then maybe a Dexter or Victornix is better.

                                                                                                                                  I have not had used the Kuhn Rikon, but I would love to able to compare these two sets.

                                                                                                                          2. re: big50_1

                                                                                                                            Where did you find it for $10? I did bring two to arm hair shaving sharpness.

                                                                                                                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/824727

                                                                                                                            The 8 in MIU Chef's has been working for us. Perhaps our techniques are different.

                                                                                                                            At home we (wife and I) use the $20 MIU 8 in Chef's knife (Chinese made with 440 steel) for most home prep tasks. She has recently moved from using a Santoku to the MIU for prep work.

                                                                                                                            I last sharpenned it the end of Dec when new and can't remember when I last steeled it.

                                                                                                                            I probably should take better care of it and should touch it up... but it has been prepping decently, so I'm OK with it.

                                                                                                                            Also at home is a 10 inch Forschner Chef's (which I rarely use) if I need or want a larger knife. The Smaller MIU 8 inch serves as a Chef's, Utility, and Parer-I don't often need much else besides it and maybe a Bread Knife.

                                                                                                                            1. re: bbqJohn

                                                                                                                              Cutlery and More, today (4/4/12) MIU France 8" NSF Commercial Chef, $7.95. http://www.cutleryandmore.com/miu-fra... , $9.95 around Christmas.

                                                                                                                              1. re: big50_1

                                                                                                                                I see that is a different version.. mine is the Forged line

                                                                                                                                http://www.cutleryandmore.com/miu-fra...

                                                                                                                                1. re: bbqJohn

                                                                                                                                  It is possible (not sure) that the Forged line is made of a different steel than the stamp version. I don't have real proof for this, but if we look at the MIU France website, only the Forged line was described to be made out of a 440 steel, while the other ones do not (scroll down):

                                                                                                                                  http://www.miufrance.com/Cutlery.htm

                                                                                                              2. I love the KUHN RIKON santoku I got. The issue with a relative cutting themselves is additional training. A dull knife is bad on so many levels. At the very least, he will push the tool far beyond what it can do and badly hurt himself . I had a relative push a paring knife edge against her thumb to cut carrots. OK with her dull knives but mine are razor sharp. A classic situation where she would push the blade into her thumb. Had to retrain her that if she used my knives, the fail or slip end-result was the knife going into the board not her fingers (relatives actually do listen when it's self-serving).

                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                1. re: big50_1

                                                                                                                  The small KUHN RIKON santoku is becoming more and more a go-to knife. It's more like a paring knife with a santoku blade BUT it's razor sharp, teflon-coated (cleans very easy), and comes with a SHEATH (handle is smaller than I would like)! I have started to keep the KR santoku in its SHEATH next to the cutting board (kids have grown up and out of the house). I am now rarely going to the knife block for the paring knife. I really like the SHEATH concept for kitchen knives. I'm wondering if I want to get a larger santoku and bread knife to go along with the one I have. Might be too cluttered next to the cutting board! Just my wife and I at this point so knife needs are minimal.

                                                                                                                2. Bought a couple Victorinox knives with Fibrox handles recently. Like them enough that I gave away a 25-year accumulation of Japanese knives, some of them very expensive. All the raves about Victorinox knives should be believed. But they're tools. If you want works of art that are sharper than anything else you can buy, go Japanese. I'm cutting food, not doing brain surgery, and what i have now does it as well as the knives I used to have.