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Please help me choose a knife to get my mom for christmas

shamful7 Nov 24, 2012 02:03 PM

My mom loves to cook and I was helping her cook thanksgiving and I saw all her knives are garbage, she had no good or sharp knives. we were smashing and crushing the veggies because her knives were all cheap and old. Ive decided to get her at least a good knife a chefs, santoku, or gyoto.

My budget is at $125 for a single knife or 2 cheaper knifes, ive done a bit of reading and the ones ive seen are
Victorinox- I can get her 3 knifes instead of 1 or 2

also I went to a knife shop near me and they had a cutco 7-5/8″ Petite Chef Knife on sale for $65

Can you guys five me some advice on which brand and what model/s to get from those seen or give me input on another good brand and knife that falls into budget and where to get it.

  1. NE_Wombat Nov 24, 2012 02:17 PM

    I'd go the Forschner/Victorinox route - look at the Fibrox series from them. Solid, takes and holds a good edge. They're the go-to knives in many a professional kitchen.

    1. k
      kagemusha49 Nov 24, 2012 02:24 PM

      Cutco is overpriced crap. Tramontina makes reasonably good low priced knife sets. You could get a wood block and set for around $120 on Amazon. The problem with buying her one expensive knife is that the rest of her knives will till be crap. The other possibility is to buy her a knife sharpener for around $20.

      1. s
        sueatmo Nov 24, 2012 02:55 PM

        $125 would get you a quality German made chef's knife. What size to buy depends on hand size, and other factors you can't know. A gift certificate to a store that sells quality knives would allow your mom to choose the knife she would love to use.

        I use an 8 inch Zwilling four star, but I began my adventure with a chef's knife with a lesser quality German 6 inch. I much prefer the larger knife. One really good chef's knife will change a cook's life.

        1. MikeB3542 Nov 24, 2012 03:07 PM

          Kagemusha is onto something. No reason to go overboard with new knives...she needs a few GOOD knives (the Victorinox, for example) and then get her a good electric sharpener with the money left over. The finest German or Japanese cutlery is worthless when (not if) it becomes dull, and even the crappiest knife is a joy when nice and sharp.

          1. Chemicalkinetics Nov 24, 2012 06:18 PM

            A Tojiro if she has a shaprening strategy. If not, a few Victorinox, and you can sharpen for her.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Chemicalkinetics
              shamful7 Nov 24, 2012 07:09 PM

              Well I forgot to mention that i Use a straight razor so I have a few sharpening stones and coticules, so i know how to sharpen a blade the problem is that the lowest grit i have is 6000 id need to get another 1000/4000 stone

              1. re: shamful7
                Chemicalkinetics Nov 24, 2012 07:24 PM


                You have a few options:

                1) Get at least a 1000 grit stone and a couple of Victorinox or Dexter-Russell knives. You can sharpen and rotate these knives for her.

                2) As other have stated, you can always just get a pull through sharpener with a Victorinox or a Dexter-Ruseel knives. Based on reputation, Presto is a cheap and effective electric sharpener (I don't have one). If you want something better, you can go for a ChefChoice:


            2. cowboyardee Nov 24, 2012 07:14 PM

              Depends on whether and how she'll sharpen em.

              Hand sharpening on whetstones, high-end jigs (edgepro), or professional sharpening > 1x/year:
              - Tojiro is a great choice
              - Fujiwara is also excellent. A little less edge retention than the tojiro and doesn't sharpen *quite* as well, but less chip-prone. It's what I bought my mom. I sharpen it for her.
              - There are a few other options as well in terms of affordable stainless Japanese knives I could tell you about if you're interested, though the Tojiro and Fujiwara are excellent choices

              If she'll sharpen on an electric device, or pull-through sharpener, or infrequent professional sharpening along with use of a honing steel:
              - Victorinox are some of the best made knives in their price range.
              - Messermeister Meridian Elite is a good series if you think she'd prefer more traditional German heft and a little more aesthetic appeal in a knife

              Infrequent (< 1x/year) professional sharpening without using a honing steel:
              - Take your pick. But any option will be dull more often than not.

              If they will never be sharpened:
              - Something serrated

              Not a fan of cutco in any case, especially not their straight-edge knives. Mediocre steel, bloated price tag, plain bad geometry.

              4 Replies
              1. re: cowboyardee
                shamful7 Nov 24, 2012 07:43 PM

                thanks at this point in time im leaning towars the 240mm fujiwara or 3 victorinox knives the only problem is a friend who cooks alot has a gyoto from hiromoto and hes stopped using all other styles since he got it.

                1. re: shamful7
                  Chemicalkinetics Nov 25, 2012 05:16 AM

                  <a friend who cooks alot has a gyoto from hiromoto and hes stopped using all other styles since he got it.>

                  cowboyardee has one. Hiromoto kicks ass, and is probably one of the best value knife. However, its edge is carbon steel (Aogami super), and carbon steel requires more care taking than stainless steel -- however small that may be.

                  What knife do you have right now? One option is to get yourself a good knife (like a Hiromoto AS or a Tojiro DP or a Takeda...etc) and give your current knife to your mom.

                  1. re: shamful7
                    cowboyardee Nov 25, 2012 03:30 PM

                    As Chem noted, I have a Hiromoto gyuto myself. 240 mm. Mine is in the AS (aogami super core steel) line though they do have a few other lines. It's on the thicker and more robust side of the scale for gyutos. Takes a very low angle, very sharp edge easily and holds it very well. Many people who buy it - myself included - wind up sharpening at significantly lower than the 15 degree/side factory edge, because the knife performs so well with acute edge angles. The cutting edge is carbon steel, but it forms a patina very quickly - quicker than any other carbon steel I've used - and is then fairly non-reactive (the edge-only dark gray patina also looks really cool). It winds up being one of the easiest carbon knives to maintain. Great knife for the money.

                    You know your mom better than I do - it's not a knife I would give to just anyone as a gift, but for someone who would get some milage out of the knife's capability for an extremely sharp yet durable edge and who wouldn't mind that extra little bit of effort in maintaining it, it's a great knife and a good value.

                    1. re: shamful7
                      John E. Nov 27, 2012 08:35 PM

                      Whatever you decide, make sure your mother has a sharpening strategy and that she knows how to care for the knife (ie. handwash and dry, no dishwasher). I have many relatives that still use the Chicago Cutlery Walnut Traditions which are cheap, home kitchen knives. However, they destroy them by putting them in the dishwasher. I mentioned that they should not go into the dishwasher and the reaction is they don't care what the wood looks like. Well, I got the brush off when I said it's not about the wood, it's about the blade. I'm scared to use their knives they are so dull.

                  2. tim irvine Nov 25, 2012 04:58 AM

                    I'd suggest a carbon steel Nogent for $109 at The Best Things for a 10". A little piece of history, a great knife.

                    1. b
                      blaireso Nov 26, 2012 09:12 PM

                      I really like my Victorinox Fibrox knives. Went out to buy Sabatier, came home with these about 20 years ago. I still have them, they're still great. They have great balance, are easy to sharpen and keep an edge, and aren't fussy in terms of maintenance. I like the handles because they are easily cleaned and safe when you have wet or slimy hands. I agree, get her a couple of these, especially if she's used to the chef's knife shape, and a Chef's Choice sharpener. If her present knives are a mess, she's not going to appreciate the extra care an elite knife should have, and you won't wince when you see another family member accidentally misuse it. Oh, and maybe a magnetic knife rack. That should altogether cost about what you'd pay for one of your other choices. Think of her habits and needs, who uses them, and try to match that with what you buy.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: blaireso
                        NE_Wombat Nov 27, 2012 06:31 AM

                        Right. Similar to my comment.

                        Car analogy: Right now she's more or less chugging along in a poorly maintained Dodge Dart, and seems more or less OK with that. While you *could* buy her a new Maserati, she's not going to appreciate all of the features, or be able to drive it to it's fullest extent. Better for everyone to get a nice solid Toyota, and fill the trunk with some nice accessories.

                      2. k
                        kyrn80 Dec 5, 2012 05:53 PM

                        I have had a 7" Wusthof Santoku Knife for almost 10 years now and use it every single day. Back then, it was around $100, but they're $70 now on Amazon. I use a cheap knife sharpener that looks like an egg and has a refrigerator magnet on the back (I got it at Kohl's for around $15), and it sharpens like a dream. Love it, and I have always put it in the dishwasher with no problem.

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