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I need to replace my chef's knife. Brand suggestions?

My hubby used my Henkle knife to pry something open and snapped the tip off, not to mention the other unorthadox tool uses he put it through. It is now crap despite sharpening. Should I buy the same brand or try another? Reasonable price a bonus.

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  1. I've been replacing my Henkle's, one by one, with Globals. I haven't bought the chef's knife yet, but I definitely will (maybe a Christmas present).

    1 Reply
    1. re: grampart

      I have also switched from Henkle's to Globals and really like them much better. Still, they are quite pricy but I love the balance and feel of the Global knives.

      http://burghfeeding.blogspot.com/

    2. I would try another brand. You should first consider size and type, then brand and price. I like Cutlery and More for good deals. Here's a link to their clearance page:

      http://www.cutleryandmore.com/cutlery...

      If you want an 8-inch stainless German knife, this one is reasonable:

      http://www.cutleryandmore.com/wmf-spi...

      2 Replies
      1. re: GH1618

        American site - too much trouble and duty, but thanks. I'll have to try and find the brands here in Canada.

        1. re: dianne0712

          A Canadian website for knives:

          http://www.paulsfinest.com/

          Look at the featured Misono.

          By the way, the Misonos are sharpened asymmetrically for right-handed use.

      2. Sounds like you need to replace the old man first.LOL
        I have some Henkles but if I could have only one knife in my kitchen my choice would be the one I've had for about forty years:

         
        1 Reply
        1. re: Puffin3

          No kidding! I feel like marking everything in the kitchen with a THIS IS NOT A TOOL label.

        2. For under $30 you can get a Forschner Victorinox chef's knife which CI rated nearly as high as knives costing well over $100. It rates 4.5 stars on Amazon from 804 total reviews.
          http://kk.org/cooltools/archives/4030

          Also, if your husband uses it to pry open a paint can or clean his grill you won't be out $100 or more to replace it.

          3 Replies
          1. re: CDouglas

            Agree. Buy him some crap tools from the dollar store for his toy box. Buy yourself a Forschner Victorinox chef's knife. They're very good value.

            1. re: Kagemusha

              The stupid thing is he HAS tools, lots of them, but mine are always where they should be and the kitchen is sooooooo convenient. His tools are always misplaced, broken or lost. It's much easier for him to grab something out of the house or one of my tools than spend an hour looking for his. I cannot cure him.
              I will look for this knife. It sounds like a good deal.

              1. re: Kagemusha

                I bought one with a red plastic handle and sheath for travel and it migrated to the kitchen.

            2. I agree with the Forschner suggestion. I like the Rosewood line.

              You might also consider having your Henckels knife repaired rather than simply sharpened. Someone like Knifesaver (Jim) or myself could easily restore the tip & put a completely new edge on it for a reasonable price. Just look for recommendations in your area, wherever that is.

               
               
               
               
              16 Replies
              1. re: Eiron

                I'll see your tip repair and raise you a few bolster reductions. ;)

                A broken tip can be reshaped into a useful tool but nothing can be put back on just optimizing what is left

                Jim

                 
                 
                 
                 
                 
                1. re: knifesavers

                  LOL, okay, here ya go...

                  A chef at a local Food Bank had a 10" Mercer with a full bolster that she absolutely hated. But she loved her 8" Shun Classic.

                  I took the Mercer & matched the profile of the Shun, taking off 2" in length (required thinning the new end), & made it a half bolster.

                  It was fun to watch her reaction when I brought it back! :-D

                   
                   
                  1. re: Eiron

                    Wow. This is awesome. How did you reduce/remove the bolster? It looks so nicely done.

                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                      Thanks Chem! I certainly appreciate the encouragement! :-)

                      I used my belt grinder & worked slow. Re-e-e-e-eal slo-o-o-ow...
                      If I sculpted, I might equate the process to sculpting. (I don't sculpt, so any sculpters out there please forgive my gross comparison.) Basically, I removed a little of the bolster at a time, working my way into the heel of the blade. I was limited by the width of the belt, so I had to make my transitions fit that width. Getting a nice taper to the remaining lower portion of the bolster was the most challenging.

                      1. re: Eiron

                        Man, I could tell you really put a lot of love or at least a lot of attention to the process. So how far are you now in term of setting up your own shop and becoming a knife maker or a knife sharpener or whatever?

                        If you ever start making a new knife, please let us know and may be pass it around. I certainly would like to be one of your first buyers. Although I must say it pays way better as an actor. So I guess you have some decision to make. :)

                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                          I've done a couple of sharpening jobs & one repair (removing & more securely reinstalling the handle of a Chinese cleaver). But my outlook is that I won't charge somebody for something I'm doing for the first time. So that means the cleaver repair was free. I've also handed out several "reworked" knives to friends for free. Oh, & I donated 6 or 8 repaired/reworked knives to the Food Bank for their cooking classes.

                          I also just finished my new business' logo & will advertise for the first time at a local choir concert in the middle of Oct. (Yes, I'm singing in the choir!) I'm still working on my big knife grinder. Obviously, I missed getting it done this past Spring. I hope to make a little more progress on it this weekend.

                          My plan is to order some steel in the next month & start fabricating. We'll see. My early attempts will definitely be pass-around versions. I can certainly use all of the feedback I can get!

                          I think an actor's life would be awesome! But I harbor no delusions that I'd ever become successful enough to support myself. The 'average' full-time actor's salary is around $50k/yr, & that takes into account the multi-million dollar stars.

                          I think I might have a better chance with knives... :-)

                          1. re: Eiron

                            Sounds like you are gaining a lot of experience by helping others. You are awesome.

                            <The 'average' full-time actor's salary is around $50k/yr>

                            Man, that is rough.

                    2. re: Eiron

                      Damn! OK you win. ;)

                      That must have been quite the job to do.

                      1. re: knifesavers

                        "Win"? LOL, I thought we were just sharing experiences? :-) Thanks though, I always appreciate the support of a fellow knife-worker. That Henkels you reshaped looks awesome, so I know that you know how long these projects take.

                        Yes, this was quite the job! She was ready to throw the knife away, so she told me to take it & use it for practice. That took away all of the concern of ruining the knife, & I could experiment a little. It turned out pretty good for a first try. I gave it back to her to see if she liked it any better, but I haven't contacted her since then. When I brought it back I noticed that she had a 2nd 10" Mercer there as well. With all of that work fresh in my mind, I did NOT offer to rework the 2nd knife!
                        :-D

                        1. re: Eiron

                          <It turned out pretty good for a first try.>
                          Way better than pretty good!!!!!

                          1. re: JavaBean

                            Thanks JavaBean! I won't point out the flaws I see... ;-)

                          2. re: Eiron

                            "That Henkels you reshaped looks awesome, so I know that you know how long these projects take."

                            That one didn't take as long as some I have done. Get a jacked Bone cleaver or hatchet and that is some grinding. I usually put a belt surcharge on those as they will eat a 40 grit belt.

                            The Henkels didn't stand a chance against a 36 grit ceramic belt.

                            Jim

                        2. re: Eiron

                          As a short woman with small hands...I just have to say "wow".
                          May favorite knives have always been of the 8" variety.
                          Nice work!

                          1. re: pedalfaster

                            Thanks pedalfaster! I think this knife's handle is too bulky if you like smaller knives. I don't have small hands, but I tend to prefer smaller diameter handles because I find them more maneuverable on the cutting board.

                            Does your name mean you bicycle, or that you're always behind? :-)

                      2. re: Eiron

                        BTDT
                        The knife seems even worse.

                        1. re: dianne0712

                          Perhaps your repair person didn't do it correctly?

                          Anyway, it was just a thought.

                          At least now you can keep the old knife in its usual place as a 'decoy' for your husband to use, & hide the new one in a safe spot for yourself. ;-)

                      3. and I'm a Wusthof fan. They just fit my hand better than Henkle.

                        I broke the tip of my Wusthof when I dropped it on the tile floor -- took to be sharpened, and they rehoned it and ground a new tip.

                        1. This may be obvious, but.... if you are going to buy a new good knife, then you cannot use it to pry anything. If you are going to use it to pry, then you will be better off by buying a cheap one.

                          I would suggest something if anything just to experience something different. If you want the least change, then try Wusthof or Messerimester.

                          You can get decent inexpensive Chef knife with the brands of Victorinox/Forschner, as suggested by others, as well as Dexter-Russell, and I mean the stamped knives, not their forged knives.

                          If you want something closer to Japanese knives, then of course you can test drive Shun and Global at your local stores.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                            Trust me, it was not me that did it! My mother bought me that knife for my 15th birthday. She brought it back from Germany. Hubby did not grow up with nice things at all and does NOT know how to handle them or even why it's such a big deal. He broke my Victorian chair by sliding down the back as he sat, washed my antler handled carving set in water, etc. When I get upset he says"what's the big deal?" and replaced my knife with a whole new set - from the dollar store. It would never occur to him that knives could cost more than $10

                            1. re: dianne0712

                              I'm guessing that the idea of using him as knife storage has crossed your mind....

                              1. re: dianne0712

                                I understand your situation. So I think what knife you want for replacement should depend on the future circumstance. If you think your knife will only be used as a knife, then you can spend good money to get a nice one. If you think your circumstance will remain the same, then a broken $30 knife will cost less heartache than a broke $300 knife.

                            2. I just scored this Victorinox from Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008...
                              Should be here middle of next week. 4.5/5 stars and over 800 reviews.

                              When your new knife comes, just give the old man the one he ruined and tell him to, "Keep his mitts off your new knife!"

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: al b. darned

                                That Victorinox is an awesome knife for the price. At that price you could use it till it dulls and buy another one.

                              2. It is a tool that needs to operate like it is an extension of your hand. Go to a few places that stock a lot of cutlery and find something that feels like it belongs in your hand.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: Brandon Nelson

                                  This is why I'm thinking of getting another Henkle. It just feels so right in my hand. Not too big, not too small, not too long not too flat etc.

                                  1. re: dianne0712

                                    Not all Henckels are the same, of course. I have had two 8" Henkels chefs over the years, one was carbon steel, made in Brazil. It was very similar to a Thiers Issard. I also had an SS I got in 1976, when they first came out with molded handles. It was a good bit more Germanic, thick spine, great rocking motion, hefty. my 10" carbon steel from France remains my favorite. I have tried Globals and liked them. They feel more like a French knife to me, light, nice point, nimble.

                                2. I would consider two things when purchasing a new knife.

                                  First of all....knives are an investment. Hopefully, with the right maintenance and care, you'll have them a long, long time. So price is a consideration but certainly not the end all when you're thinking about how long you'll have it.

                                  Secondly, you must try out the knife before you use it. My knives are Global and I love the construction and how it fits in my hand. I think I could use them all day without wearing my hand out.
                                  I hope you find what you're looking for and, by all means, keep it locked away from you husband :).

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: latindancer

                                    I have Victorinox/Forschner knives and use Dexter Russell knives at work...They are both serviceable but not always ideal.

                                    Probably to save money.. the same sized plastic handle is used on all their knives of the same plastic handle line (Fibrox line I think).

                                    The issue is with the 8 inch Chef's knives and for those who use a Pinch Grip (which most pros I know do).

                                    The plastic finger guard is too big and gets in the way causing ones fingers to hit the cutting board when chopping. The 10 inch Chef's has a bigger blade width at the handle and does not suffer the same issue (unless the user has very large hands).

                                    The issue does not exist with the Victorinox/Forschner Rosewood handle version of the knife because the finger guard if any is smaller.

                                    ----
                                    Eiron I wish you success in your endeavor.. if you wish to make steady income out of it you may want to eventually add food service clientele. At least one sharpener I met owns many knives and kitchens I believe just rent from him. He exchanges knives around once a month with his food service clients.

                                    ----

                                    "Secondly, you must try out the knife before you use it." I have to (personally) disagree ... when using a pinch grip the handle and how it feels is less important ... as the knife kind of becomes an extension of your hand.

                                    ---
                                    There are many opinions on which knife or knife style to buy... Chad Wards's book is a good one to start with. His online article is here: http://forums.egullet.org/topic/26036...

                                    An ideal Chef's knife for me has no finger guard and little or no bolster. This allows a more comfortable pinch grip and that bolster doesn't get in the way of stone sharpening. Most Japanese style Gyuto/Chef's knives fall in this category. Right now if I get a new knife it may in the KAI 4000ST series.
                                    http://www.chefsresource.com/kai-4000...

                                    I think a last point often not stated.. is that a sharpening/maintenance strategy should be considered otherwise it doesn't matter much what knife to buy.. a cheap dull knife is about as good as a expensive dull knife.

                                    1. re: bbqJohn

                                      <The plastic finger guard is too big and gets in the way causing ones fingers to hit the cutting board when chopping. >

                                      That is an excellent point. I have never thought about it, but now that looking at the photo. The Victorinox Chef's knife does have a fairly large size plastic finger guard or whatever we want to call that, which can cause one finger (probably middle finger) to hit the cutting board -- possibly.

                                      I do agree that a "no bolster" or "reduced bolster" is preferable.

                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                        I've got hands of ham and mine don't hit the cutting board with the 8" Victorinox.

                                  2. www.newwestknifeworks.com

                                    american but the steel is incredible he could use it as a tool and still not muck it up, steel wool doesn't sratch it. the 2.0 that is. well worth the $ as it's the last you ever need.

                                    this is a opion though. truth i learned cheep normaly = well cheep

                                    the real best advice is get the best you can really aford he'think twice about useing a $200+ knife as a screwdriver.

                                    1. Get cutco, you can do any goofy stuff you want with it, clean the carbeurator, put riflings in your toilet, throw it at the neighbor kids, modernist painting, whatever gets you off, and they'll always replace it. Forever. No questions asked.

                                      16 Replies
                                      1. re: coelacanth72

                                        Such a warranty policy makes me suspicious. Knife manufacturing and selling is a business, and they can't keep essentially handing away new knives for free without covering the cost to manufacture and ship them.

                                        Since you don't pay for the knives more than once, then the cost of manufacturing future knives (i.e. knives to replace ones that customers send in) must be included in the original price.

                                        You may make your own conclusions, however.

                                        1. re: Cynic2701

                                          All you need to know about Cutco knives.
                                          http://www.cheftalk.com/t/11067/cutco...

                                          1. re: grampart

                                            Ah! I remember reading a comprehensive critique of Cutco knives, but couldn't remember where I had seen it. Thanks for the link!

                                          2. re: Cynic2701

                                            As well it should. Cutco knives are just awful, inferior pieces, worse than the forged Fabreware/Chicago cutlery stuff they sell at Wall-Mart. You're paying for the warranty, they toss in some "knives" to sweeten the deal. Stamped, not forged, terrible handles, blade profile designed by someone who's never actually prepared food before... just awful. But they'll replace it forever, no questions asked. So if you want to abuse a knife, cutco it is.

                                            1. re: coelacanth72

                                              depends on which ones they are -- see below comment

                                              1. re: coelacanth72

                                                As per Cutco website, they'll replace at 50% off the list price. So you can get a 9" chef's knife ( made out of 440a steel) for $150, and replace it as many times as you like for $75.

                                                1. re: JavaBean

                                                  I can read your statements word-for-word, but I cannot tell if you are writing this is a serious tone or in a mocking tone.

                                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                    I was just pointing out the replacement cost isn't free. As for the knives, I played with one briefly and didn't think too highly of it. More so, after hearing the price for a 440a blade steel.

                                                    1. re: JavaBean

                                                      I see. That sounds more like the JavaBean I remember. :)

                                              2. re: Cynic2701

                                                I was in the Cutco factory in upstate NY years ago as a vendor. They're really, really well-made, according to traditional knifemaking methods.

                                                Expensive as all hell, though.

                                                (note that this applies only to US-made knives...)

                                                1. re: sunshine842

                                                  That depends on how you define "well-made." I think it's likely they have a vigorous quality control process; but they're badly designed and overpriced in the first place.

                                                  Edit for clarity: their serrated knives aren't exactly badly designed. Just overpriced. Their straight edge knives, like their chef's knife - both badly designed AND overpriced.

                                                  1. re: cowboyardee

                                                    I'm defining "well-made" as in the manufacturing process -- how the steel is forged and formed and ground. They are made following the exact same processes as German knives.

                                                    You'll notice I did mention "expensive as all hell" -- I've seen how they're made, but I'm not going to buy them.

                                                    They also don't fit my hand - so Cutco is a no-go for me anyway...but I can't say with any veracity whatsoever that they're badly made or that the quality of the steel itself is in question.

                                                    1. re: sunshine842

                                                      They're far from the "exact same process as Germn knives," they're stamped, not forged, from inferior steel. Maybe the German knives Cutco is talking about are the cheapo economy lines, most of which aren't made in Germany anyway.

                                                      1. re: coelacanth72

                                                        they are forged. I saw it. With my own eyes and everything.

                                                        Unless you have physically stood in a German knife plant and the Cutco plant, you're just going to have to take my word for it.

                                                        EVERYBODY has a cheapass made-in-China line. Nobody was discussing those -- we all know they're crap.

                                                        1. re: sunshine842

                                                          I think what coelacanth72 means is that Cutco top line knives are made from 440A steel, which is considered inferior to most other big German knives brand like Henckels (close to 440C, Wusthof (X50CrMoV15) and Messermeiser (X55CrMoV15).

                                                          Not much behind, but most consider 440A not as good as 440C, for example.

                                                          "Blanking or punching a blade out of 440A high-carbon stainless steel."

                                                          http://www.cutco.com/company/craftsma...

                                                          In addition, blanking and punching sounds like stamping than forging -- I personal don't think it matters if a knife is stamped or forged. Plenty great knives are made from stamping like Shun knives, Global knives and Tojiro knives...etc.

                                                          1. re: sunshine842

                                                            I found this on the cutco website. I'll take their word for it.

                                                            http://www.cutco.com/company/video.js...

                                              3. Wusthof has some "Prep Sets" that are on sale right now and include a 6" chef's knife along with a small paring knife and they cost less than the regular price of the lone chef's knife. I'd check that out.

                                                Most of the time you can find sets from Henckels and Wusthof that include a chef's knife and cost less than the chef's knife by itself, or are around the same price. I think Henckels has a 3 piece set of forged knives that's about $100 right now.