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I'm overwhelmed. Can you help me pick a knife?

I have this one http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008... and I don't really like it. Even after sharpening, it just doesn't cut very well. Also, everything sticks to it. I have to yank zucchini or carrot or whatever off the knife after every cut. I do generally seem to like the size and shape, though (it's an 8" chef's knife). I've been reading about carbon steel, and I don't care if my knife gets discolored as long as it cuts. So, I'm in the market for a new knife and some kind of sharpener to go with it. I found the website http://www.japanesechefsknife.com/ on an old thread, and they are dazzlingly pretty, but I don't really know how to choose. I see different angles mentioned. Is there some combination of angles that will make the food not stick to the knife? I also saw this specific knife mentioned http://www.leevalley.com/en/garden/pa... and am curious about it because it's so cheap. I was reading also that there are other things that matter besides the knife material, like how the knife is made. Can anyone give me the kindergarten version of what I should be paying attention to?

So, I guess I'm looking for a recommendation for an approximately 8" chef's or santoku (or something similar, I don't know all the names), maybe in carbon steel, and let's say under $200.

Any help much appreciated.

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  1. A chef's knife is a pretty personal decision; my recommendation would be to pick out a few and then maybe go to a Sur La Table or Crate and Barrel or something and hold them / try them out. For the sake of concreteness, my friend has a Shun Premier 8" Chef's Knife and loves it; I've used it and am a fan as well. I'm sure you'll get a lot more recs before this thread is through though.

    3 Replies
    1. re: adk

      Wow, it's certainly beautiful. And it even says it's designed to reduce food sticking. Definitely one to consider, thanks!

      1. re: adk

        I have the Shun Premier 8", also, and it's been great. I picked up a 7" for a ridiculous low price, maybe $75? and I like it a lot, too.

        1. re: adk

          also, the kershaw shun line comes in left-handed versions as well as right-handed version.
          i've been more than happy with all of my kershaw shuns.

        2. If you had this thread moved to cookware section, you would quickly be inundated with more knife information then you ever thought possible. If you search the cookware section you will also have some ideas.

          Knives are very personal, there are many distinct categories to consider to help narrow down your selection.

          Japanese vs German vs French styles to begin with

          Typically the knife you have gets positive reviews, especially given the function vs cost of the knife. If you are ready to switch knives then that is fine, there are many to choose from.

          In addition to the website you have looked at, another popular one is http://chefknivestogo.com

          It does help if you can go to restaurant supply stores or to Williams Sonoma, etc to hold knives and see which ones feel good to you. A knife should be an extension of you, so if it doesn't feel good you won't be happy with it. Note that you can probably find better deals on knives then you will at places like Williams Sonoma, but it is a good place to handle a few knives.

          1. As far as where to begin, if you really want a carbon knife, you are looking at Japanese knives mostly. Is there any reason you want carbon?

            If you want good value knives, and are leaning towards Japanese style, then Tojiro is a brand often recommended, but also Mac knives are pretty decent for the money. Neither would be carbon, but unless you really want carbon for some reason they might work.

            You have mentioned chef knife and santoku, gyuto would be the third style to consider, it is basically a Japanese chef knife.

            Tojiro
            http://www.chefknivestogo.com/todpsak...
            http://www.chefknivestogo.com/todpchk...
            http://www.chefknivestogo.com/tojiro-...
            http://www.chefknivestogo.com/todp21w...

            Mac
            http://www.chefknivestogo.com/macpr8h...
            http://www.chefknivestogo.com/macprmi...
            http://www.chefknivestogo.com/macsu65...

            There are so many other knives, but big names like Shun, Global, Henckel in my opinion cost more then they are worth. They will all be fine knives, but there are better knives for you money, and I say this as an owner of probably 7 or 8 Professional S knives and a Miyabi.

            Other names to consider which most likely will come up are F Dick, and Messermeister which would be German style knives.

            If you really do want a carbon knife, a good introductory one would again be Tojiro

            http://www.chefknivestogo.com/toshsa1...

            or maybe

            http://www.chefknivestogo.com/tanakas...

            3 Replies
            1. re: TeRReT

              <If you really do want a carbon knife, a good introductory one would again be Tojiro

              http://www.chefknivestogo.com/toshsa1...

              or maybe

              http://www.chefknivestogo.com/tanakas... >

              I agree. Tojiro Shirogami carbon steel knives have gained a lot of good praises for the quality and for the price. I bought a Tanaka Aogami Nakiri awhile back, and it really revolutionized the way I see these Japanese carbon steels. Unfortunately, the price jumped up after I bought, but they are still reasonably good deal.

              http://www.chefknivestogo.com/taku21w...

              Tanaka Kurouchi knives have excellent steel, but are a bit thick (for Japanese knives anyway).

              1. re: TeRReT

                I read that carbon takes a sharper edge and holds it better. So, in order to consider another stainless knife (or hybrid) I would want to see a compelling explanation for why it's better. My previous knife was a much pricier Henckels (also stainless) and I was equally unimpressed.

                1. re: jvanderh

                  <I read that carbon takes a sharper edge and holds it better>

                  For the same price range, your statement is somewhat true. This is to say a $150 carbon steel knife is likely to take on a better edge than a $150 stainless steel knife -- generally speaking. However, you will find Japanese stainless steels in general can take on a lower angle (sharper) edge than German stainless steels. Go to Williams Sonoma or Sur La Table, and try to play with the Shun Classic knives which are made of VG-10. See if you like it. Shun Classic, Tojiro DP, Shiki and many others use VG-10. If Shun Classic knives are still not sharp enough for you, then you are correct, then you can give Japanese white steel and Japanese blue steel knives a try. They hold a sharper edge much better than even VG-10. On the other hand, some find carbon steel knives take too much to take care of in professional kitchens.

              2. So you don't like the Victorinox knife, huh? I am surprised that you said that it does not cut well. My question to you is that: (1) Have you used a knife which cut much better? If so, what is the brand/name? (2) Are you comfortable sharpening knives? If not, do you know if the knife does not sharpened up due to your skill level or do you think the knife steel just isn't very good? As for food sticking to knife, that is a combination of knife skill and knife geometry.

                JapaneseChefsknife.com (the one you listed) is a great website. Another good one is Chefknivestogo.com. Actually, there are many, but I think these two really offers good prices, fast shipping and great quality knives. Yes, I have bought from both sites.

                I absolutely agree with TeRReT. You have some great questions, but you also opened up these questions very wide. I will limit my suggestion within the Japanese steel knives just for now.

                If you really hate food sticking to blade, then the Glestain knives are known to reduce stickiness due to the large dimples (most dimple knives are not effective):

                http://japanesechefsknife.com/GLESTAI...

                If you want a hard Japanese steel knife much like Shun, but cheaper, then Tojiro DP series is very good. Tojiro DP knives are made with a very similar design as Shun Classic. Both have VG-10 steel core hardened to ~61 HRC.

                http://www.chefknivestogo.com/todp21w...

                http://www.chefknivestogo.com/tojiro-...

                http://www.cutleryandmore.com/tojiro?...

                If you want a semi-carbon steel, then CarboNext from Japanesechefsknife is a good inexpensive series. Konosuke HD is excellent, but more expensive. I have a CarboNext knife and just purchased a Konosuke HD last week:

                http://japanesechefsknife.com/KAGAYAK...

                http://www.chefknivestogo.com/konosuk...

                http://www.chefknivestogo.com/kohd21w...

                If you want a real high quality carbon steel, jacketed in stainless steel, then you really cannot go wrong with Hiromoto AS:

                http://www.chefknivestogo.com/higy21....

                If you want a Damascus pattern VG-10 knife, but not expensive, then go for Shiki knives:

                http://japanesechefsknife.com/SHIKI.html

                P.S.: I don't like the look of the peasant Chef's knife on Lee Valley website. The handle looks very thick, the transition between the handle to the blade is too abrupt, the knuckle space is questionably small...etc.

                4 Replies
                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                  I haven't used a knife that cut much better. as far as I know. I'm not sure. I had my previous knife professionally sharpened at two different places, and that didn't seem to do anything either. This time around, I've tried a few sharpeners. The most recent one came with guide rods to keep the angle right, and I watched their video to make sure I was using the right amount of pressure. So, I've reasonably tried to sharpen properly, but it could still be me. I think if I go carbon steel, I don't want the kind that's jacketed in stainless. From what I hear, you have the worst of both worlds- the edge still rusts, and you have to grind SS to sharpen. I believe you that there's skill involved with chopping, but things stick as if they are superglued. It takes significant force to dislodge them.

                  1. re: jvanderh

                    <I haven't used a knife that cut much better>

                    I was trying to see if you have experienced a much better knife and therefore unimpressed by the Victorinox. It sounds like you haven't. Victorinox stamped knives are probably some of the best knives at their price range, but you can definitely upgrade from them.

                    <I think if I go carbon steel, I don't want the kind that's jacketed in stainless. From what I hear, you have the worst of both worlds- the edge still rusts, and you have to grind SS to sharpen>

                    Not necessary. With a stainless steel jacket, all you have to wipe down is the narrow carbon steel edge. It certainly is easier to carefully wipe down only the edge instead of the whole blade. Just in case of rusting, all you have to do is to only fix/grind the edge. I have a carbon steel core stainless steel jacket knife. I do not think it is more difficult to sharpen. Regardless, you know what you need the best, and pure carbon steel knives are definitely great too. Now, if you are into edge retention, then powder steel knives are good. A Ryusen SG-2 powder steel gyuto is about $230.

                    In this video, Salty played with two high end Mizuno Honyaki gyuto. As Salty said, these are very good knives with excellent grind. Unfortunately, these knives are out of your price range, but they do demonstrate good knives can reduce food sticking. If you are concern sticking, then consider Glestain.

                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                      Thanks Eiron for the reminder. Here is the video where Saltydog played with the white steel and blue steel Mizuno Honayki gyuto knives:

                      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FFBQ6...

                      Salty has a video which dozen of knives for edge retention, and I found it now: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KOzF8...

                    2. re: jvanderh

                      "From what I hear, you have the worst of both worlds- the edge still rusts, and you have to grind SS to sharpen."

                      Not completely correct:

                      Yes, you still have to make sure the unclad edge is wiped (reasonably) dry & not left in standing water, just like an unclad knife.

                      No, you probably won't ever (in your lifetime) have to "grind SS". If you EVER get far enough into the blade where you're meeting the stainless cladding, you'll have bigger issues to deal with. Mostly, you'll need the entire blade thinned (or at least the lower half of it), as you'll be into the thicker portion of it at that point & cutting quality will be greatly diminished.

                  2. Thanks everyone for the replies so far. They are very helpful.

                    12 Replies
                    1. re: jvanderh

                      Koki is great to work with @ JCK and you can't beat his freight price. There are some suggestions here I'd disagree with a bit. A lot of users complain about the handle on the Tojiro DP. One of the few knives I'd say you really should try to use before you buy.
                      I would never suggest a Glestain unless there is some specific use for it or unless stiction is the #1 priority.

                      Add Tanaka to the no go list as well as. No longer worth the $$$ IMO.
                      Macs are only marginally better than what you already have with a much higher price tag and there are many far better choices at the same price point as some of the Macs.

                      $200 is an ample budge but you have to decide if you want carbon or SS. Don't get sucked too far down the rabbit hole in steel type hype. VG10 will hold a perfectly fine edge. If you can't get it sharp don't blame the knife. If that's where your sharpening skills are carbon is unlikely to produce a sharper edge for you. Carbon is also more trouble than it's worth for many home cooks.
                      Ideally you would have both in the end.

                      The carboNext that Chem suggested is a solid choice as is the Kagayaki WA gyuto that Koki has. Both are well within your price range.
                      A Lot of people like the Hiromoto but I think it's best to commit to either SS or carbon Vs a clad knife.
                      The Kono is a very nice knife and very popular but a bit out of your price range.

                      The Sakai Yusuke WA Gyuto from BlueWayJapan on eBay is an excellent choice and they offer that knife in both SS and white #2.
                      There's lots of great choices in your price range but I can understand the trepidation as there are a lot of pigs in the poke as well.
                      My Top picks would be;
                      Kagayaki WA VG10
                      CarboNext
                      Sakai Yusuke (either SS or Carbon)
                      Hiromoto if you want a clad knife.

                      1. re: TraderJoe

                        <Add Tanaka to the no go list as well as. No longer worth the $$$ IMO.>

                        Assuming we are talking about the lower end Tanaka (and not the more expensive Damascus ones), I somewhat agree to that. They were such a great deal back then especially for the Kurouchi blue steel knives. Now the price doubled. On the other hand, are there better competitors?

                        <Carbon is also more trouble than it's worth for many home cooks.>

                        The situation probably is worse for professional chefs in busy kitchens.

                        <The Sakai Yusuke WA Gyuto from BlueWayJapan on eBay is an excellent choice and they offer that knife in both SS and white #2>

                        Oh yeah, I heard great thing about it, but I have never used one. My understanding is that it is a laser (thin blade).

                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                          The Sakai Yusuke comes in both standard and thin (laser) versions in both White #2 and Sweedish SS. They also offer handle upgrades which is nice.
                          The Standard version is where I'd go in this case.
                          I could swing either way on the carbon maintenance. If the buyer doesn't fully understand carbon and the maintenance required the result is the same at home or in a Professional kitchen.

                        2. re: TraderJoe

                          Can you teach me how to get it sharp, then? That way I'll know whether it's the knife.

                          1. re: jvanderh

                            <Can you teach me how to get it sharp, then? That way I'll know whether it's the knife.>

                            It is tough to teach on an internet forum, right? Your best bet is to look at some nice youtube videos for knife sharpening. As for finding out if it is the knife steel vs sharpening skill, your Victorinox should able to push cut paper. Not just slice paper by pulling or pushing the knife, but you should able to sharpen it to the point which you can push the knife straight down and slice through a printer paper. Alternatively, your knife should able to shave your arm hair.

                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                              It can't even remotely shave my arm hair. I've watched this one http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lUbkPd... but I'm not sure it's for SS knives, and it doesn't mention specific stones (and I really don't want to pay for a name with sharpening stones, unless they're actually better). That's how I ended up with the Lansky oilstone system with the 5 different grades. One thing that also confused me was that the angle Lanksy recommended was 20 degrees, which seemed to be a lot bigger than what I usually hear. When doing it according to their directions didn't seem to do anything, I also took off the angle guide and tried a sharper angle and a lot more pressure. That scratched the hell out of the sides of my knife, but didn't seem to leave it any sharper. I ended up returning it. So, for anyone who's willing to say "I use x knife, x stone, and x sharpening method and get very sharp knives," it's really helpful to me.

                              1. re: jvanderh

                                I have the 1000 grit water stone from here:
                                http://www.mikestools.com/Sharpening-...

                                It easily sharpens my Victorinox to shaving-sharp. However, the stone itself takes some prep: soaking before use, drying before storage, & occassional resurfacing ('flattening'). Water stones wear, so you'll (eventually, maybe?) need to replace them. I'd recommend either the 1000 or 1200 grit. Both are Splex brand, even though the website says differently.

                                I also use this Spyderco ceramic stone:
                                http://www.amazon.com/Spyderco-Medium...

                                It's not quite as fast, but there's no soaking/drying required & it'll never need resurfacing (i.e., it'll never wear out). I do splash mine with water while I use it, but it's not necessary. This stone also sharpens my Victorinox to shaving-sharp.

                                If you end up with a harder steel knife, I'd recommend the water stone(s) over the ceramic stone(s). But for your Victorinox, I've used both with excellent success.

                                1. re: Eiron

                                  Do you use one stone then the other afterward, or are they two alternatives to do the same thing? Do you use a technique similar to the video I posted? (matchbook angle, back and forth with moderate pressure?)

                                  1. re: jvanderh

                                    They're alternatives to do the same thing.

                                    The water stone is cheaper & will sharpen faster, but requires more 'upkeep'.

                                    The ceramic does a great job on all softer steels (IMO) & will last forever.

                                    If you don't want to ever think about stone prep & maintenance, get the ceramic. If you think you might be interested in 'getting into' sharpening, then get the water stone. :-)

                                2. re: jvanderh

                                  Bob Kramer is a great knife maker, especially kitchen knives. However, if you want to learn knife sharpening. Dave Martel, Murray Carter, Jon Broida have better and more detail knife sharpening videos. Mark Richmond and Thomas Stuckey have better introductory video, so I will start with Mark or Thomas.

                                  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TwfW_P...

                                  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7l418...

                                  <I really don't want to pay for a name with sharpening stones, unless they're actually better). That's how I ended up with the Lansky oilstone system with the 5 different grades>

                                  May I ask what make you believe that the Lansky oilstone system is a good choice?

                                  <Lanksy recommended was 20 degrees>

                                  Your Victorinox should able to take 15 degree each side.

                                  <So, for anyone who's willing to say "I use x knife, x stone, and x sharpening method and get very sharp knives,">

                                  I use so many knives and so many stones. I don't know where to start. Ok, I will start with what I did most recently. I took a CCK stainless steel Chinese slicer and sharpened it through three stones: Bester 1000, Naniwa Super 2000 and Naniwa Super 5000. I used a technique which has some similarity to Dave Martel. In truth, my sharpening technique is a combination of many others.

                                  I am able to get the knife sharp enough and durable enough:

                                  http://www.chow.com/photos/867454

                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                    I bought the Lansky because it had good reviews

                              2. re: jvanderh

                                "Can you teach me how to get it sharp, then? That way I'll know whether it's the knife."

                                My advice would be to take a class. Watching utube is a good way to develop bad habbits unless you only watch good vids. Bad habbits are hard to un-learn. Look for the Murray Carter vids or buy/loan a copy of Dave Martels DVD.
                                Learn how to sharpen or at least have some plan for sharpening. There's nothing wrong with sending your knives out a few times a year for sharpening and you may want to have yours sharpened before you move on.
                                That Victorinox is every bit as good as the vast majority of house knives in professional kitchens.
                                If you are starting out free hand get a single combination stone. 1k/3k is a good place to start.

                          2. So, I'm not sure what your bigger complaint is:
                            1) Poor cutting
                            2) Food sticking

                            As far as poor cutting, I have a Victorinox santoku & it's my 2nd-favorite knife. It takes an extremely sharp edge & holds it for a reasonably long time. It sharpens easily, but I'm sharpening by hand on either Spyderco ceramic stones or Japanese water stones. So I suspect that your sharpening process (whether it's being done by you or someone else) is the source of your cutting problem. Carbon steel won't improve a knife's ability to cut if the edge isn't being prepared properly.

                            As for food sticking, the biggest problem you face is finding a knife you like WITH blade geometry (NOT edge angles) that promote food release. Most production knives (like Victorinox, Henckels & Wusthof) have flat-ground sides, which create the food sticking situation you don't like. I have a couple of Shun Classics & a Kanetsune KC-102 (my 1st-favorite knife, & it's SS), & none of them release food any better than my Victorinox santoku. Probably the best choice for releasing food is going to be a Glestain:

                            http://www.japanesechefsknife.com/GLE...

                            A 210mm gyuto will be the closest thing to your 8" chef's knife.

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: Eiron

                              My bigger complaint is probably poor cutting. But sticking is a close second- it seems to make everything take twice as long. Is there a certain phrase I look for, or will it just say designed to reduce sticking?

                              1. re: jvanderh

                                Well, a good knife that's poorly sharpened will cut just like the Victorinox you have now. Type of steel won't matter at that point. (Although, to be fair, some inexpensive knives use low-grade steel that simply won't sharpen well. The Victorinox is NOT one of those knives, but poor sharpening practice CAN degrade a steel's quality. Typically, overheating the blade during powered sharpening will do this.)

                                Food release is harder to quantify, especially in any product's advertising copy. As I mentioned above, my Shun & Kanetsune pattern-clad knives don't release food any better than my Victorinox, even though they make that claim in their ad copy. Chem has previously linked to a video (of 'Salty Dog') where different knives are compared for food release. That might be of some limited help in your search?

                                [Chem - you're up!]

                                1. re: jvanderh

                                  Yeah, Eiron has hit a lot of high points. Victorinox is not the best knife in the world, but it should be good enough for most people. You should able to push cut paper and shave arm hair as mentioned earlier. If you cannot, then I think it is likely to be a sharpening problem, and not a knife steel problem.

                                  Food release is tougher as Eiron has said. If I have to guess, I would "guess" your greatest limitation is due to the sharpening skill. Once you get your knife sharpening skill up, then you can decide if you need a higher quality knife.

                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                    Hey! Where's the link you're supposed to include to Salty's "food release" video?
                                    :-P

                              2. Victorinox/Forschner Fibrox knives are very well regarded and used a lot in professional kitchens. It strikes me as a bit odd that you are finding it doesn't cut very well. I'm wondering if the problem is not with the knife but with the sharpening or maintenance (are you using a steel?). I have two Victorinox chef's knives (8 and 10 inch) as well as several Japanese knives (gyutos and other types) and when well sharpened the Victorinox should cut almost as well--certainly well enough for most people's skill level.

                                A Japanese stainless chef's knife will take a keener and longer lasting edge and a carbon steel knife has the POTENTIAL to be shaper still, but without the knife skills to match it can be overkill for many people. And there are trade offs. Japanese knives can have a more fragile edge that you need to be aware of and if you use a carbon steel knife you need to be dedicated to keeping it clean and dry immediately after using it or it will rust. The Victorinox is like a Toyota Corolla. It is an inexpensive, low maintenance, very reliable knife. It can be all you really need in a knife. The Japanese knives can be Corvettes or BMW's or all the way up to Ferrari's of the knife world. Nobody NEEDS these cars, but they can be more fun to drive and in circumstances where they can be let loose they will obviously leave a Corolla in the dust. But buying a Ferrari does not make you automatically a better driver.

                                Whether you stick to the Victorinox or go for a Japanese knife your primary concern should be a sharpening solution. If you take it out to get sharpened you need someone you can trust or if you do it yourself how. Most of the more automated sharpening systems (pull through or electric) won't work for a Japanese knife.

                                You say that you don't like the shape of the Victorinox, but it's geometry and weight is more similar to that of a Japanese gyuto knife than a German (Wusthoff or Henkel) chef's. If the food sticking is your primary concern then you could try a knife with so called "Granton" edges or the Japanese ones that have a hammered finish. That might help, though cutting technique can help release food as well.

                                6 Replies
                                1. re: mpad

                                  I have to disagree that my (lack of) knife skills make me less aware of the knife's sharpness or less able to appreciate it. I can appreciate that a BMW drives smoother and responds faster without even knowing how to change a tire. And a sharp knife will make my life easier no matter how good or bad I am at chopping. Any recommendations for sharpening systems for the Victorinox, or places I can send it out to, are appreciated- I'm happy to try that before buying a new knife. Nothing I've done so far has worked, nor was I impressed with the edge it came with (and I bought three of them, so it wasn't just a fluke).

                                  1. re: jvanderh

                                    All I'm suggesting is that a Victorinox is a plenty good knife and properly sharpened will push cut paper and with regular steeling will slice a ripe tomato for months after sharpening. If it is not doing this then something is wrong and buying a carbon steel Japanese knife will likely not resolve whatever the issue is.

                                    I'm a fan of Japanese knifes, and as I said have several, but I have no problem using the Victorinox instead if it is at hand.

                                    As for sharpening the Victorinox I personally use an EdgePro Apex, but I have also in the past used the Chef's Choice electric sharpeners and they do an acceptable (if not great) job. If you do get a Japanese knife it would probably be a good idea to either get something like the EdgePro or learn to sharpen on stones. If there is a sharpener you trust to know how to sharpen Japanese knives to send your knives out to then that works too, but personally I like to be able to touch up my knives whenever I feel like it.

                                    Your sharpening solution is at least as important as the knife itself. A BMW without its tires isn't going anywhere.

                                    1. re: mpad

                                      Edge Pro Apex......Couldn't agree more....best thing since sliced bread.

                                    2. re: jvanderh

                                      Hmmm. You also note that you bought three Victorinox's and were not impressed with their edge out of the box. Reviewers often note of Victorinox's that they are very sharp out of the box. In fact that was one of the big points in their favor when Cooks Illustrated selected the Victorinox as their top choice for a chef's knife and boning knife. If you are set up to sharpen yourself then sharpness out of the box is not really relevant (and some Japanese knives come entirely unsharpened when you buy them).

                                      Can I ask what you what material you are cutting on?

                                      1. re: mpad

                                        The cutting board you mean? It's plastic, although I've cut on many surfaces and haven't noticed much difference.

                                        1. re: jvanderh

                                          Plastic cutting boards are noted for dulling knives quickly

                                  2. Fibrox Forschners are respectable blades. If you can't get a good edge on a Forschner or German Henckels you have a sharpening problem as they are pretty unfussy blades to resharpen.

                                    Japanese are very fussy by comparison and need more expensive stones to sharpen.

                                    Jim

                                    13 Replies
                                    1. re: knifesavers

                                      what do you recommend?

                                      1. re: jvanderh

                                        For stones or blades?

                                        1. re: knifesavers

                                          To sharpen the Vict.

                                          1. re: jvanderh

                                            I do most blades freehand on machines but for one blade I'd bust out the stones.

                                            Old school works. Coarse and fine Norton India stones to start the rough edge then onto soft Arkansas and or hard Arkansas, then black Arkansas.

                                            I could use the Spydercos after the India or use waterstones after them but the India/Arkansas progression has been used by countless sharpeners on millions of blades.

                                            Jim

                                            1. re: knifesavers

                                              I'll 2nd the Norton India stones for german quality steel. I use the same course, fine, then an extra fine from razor edge systems but if I didn't have the extra fine I would use a hard/black Arkansas to finish it up.

                                              After sharpening I have no problem shaving arm hair with a Forschner or any similar german quality steel knife.

                                              If it wasn't recommeded please read through Chad Ward's online info and/or book.
                                              http://forums.egullet.org/topic/26036...

                                              1. re: bbqJohn

                                                <If it wasn't recommeded please read through Chad Ward's online info and/or book.>

                                                +1. The online chapters are great. The book contains similar information, but I love the book as well. It is not only an informative book, but it is a very humorous book. I enjoy it very much (which is why I was happy to re-read it).

                                              2. re: knifesavers

                                                Is there anything else I need to know about buying one? I see one on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Norton-61463685... but don't know how to tell whether it's a good one.

                                                1. re: jvanderh

                                                  That's too coarse. I'd look for a 800/4000 or 1000/5000 or something like that. I have the King 800/4000, and it's good, not great. I also have Shapton Pro 1K and 5K, and those are the stones I actually use.

                                                  1. re: seattle_lee

                                                    "That's too coarse. I'd look for a 800/4000 or 1000/5000 or something like that. I have the King 800/4000, and it's good, not great. I also have Shapton Pro 1K and 5K, and those are the stones I actually use."

                                                    Seattle Lee, JIS Grits and US Grit sizes are different and can't be compared.

                                                    That $20 Norton India Course/Fine is sufficient on German quality steel knives. I used such a knife in a prep room for 6 +- hours each day and used the Norton India combo to keep the knife in shape.

                                                    Some would say that polishing steel that can't hold an edge as well as harder steel is wasteful.

                                                    A detailed review is here.
                                                    http://www.bladeforums.com/forums/sho...

                                                  2. re: jvanderh

                                                    "Is there anything else I need to know about buying one?"

                                                    Yes.
                                                    From my perspective that system has far less use for most buyers like yourself that want to transition towards Japanese knives.
                                                    Amazon carries both King and Norton 1k/6K combination water stones and either would be a better buy and easier to learn on. Water stones do have to be soaked unless they are splash and go stones and they need to be flattened. This is both fast and simple. Oil stones have their draw backs as well. The 1k/4K Koki carries is a better starter stone than those on amazon and I'd think that CKTG would carry a combination stone as well.

                                                    http://japanesechefsknife.com/WhetSto...

                                                    1. re: TraderJoe

                                                      So, would I want different stones for sharpening carbon steel or Japanese SS? I think I'll try sharpening the Victorinox first, with whatever equipment comes most recommended. I don't want to be learning the basics of sharpening on a new expensive knife anyway.

                                                      1. re: jvanderh

                                                        Waterstones are preffered with jknives bc they come in finer grits and are more efficient at sharpening harder steels. Your forschner and other softer steels are fine with oilstones or Waterstones.

                                                        A couple of sheets of wet / dry sandpaper (600 or 1000 grit) adhered to a piece of glass is low cost way to start sharpening.

                                                        1. re: jvanderh

                                                          Oil stones are fine for your vicorinox but IMO that would not be a wise move if you plan to go with one of the knives you mentioned up-thread @ any point in the future. The basics won't change with either set up it's just going to cost you more $$$ in the end if you buy stones and then go to a J-knife in the future. I would not put my current knives on oil stones and I used oil stones for many years.
                                                          Aside from all of that IMO it's a heckuva lot easier to learn to sharpen on a water stone that gives you some feed back Vs oil stones.

                                          2. Hi. Carbon steel,  generally take and hold a better edge, and are easier to sharpen than stainless steels...in the same price class.  But carbons need to be      washed and dried thoroughly after usage and can do funny things to acidic foods.  Plus, there are carbons with stainless steel cladding, as well as some very carbon like semi-stainless and stainless steels available, but they just cost a little more.

                                            Moist foods like potatoes and cucumbers tend to cling the most.  There are several ways to clingers / knife stiction. 
                                            A) Wet the blade and cut faster without stopping the blade.
                                            B) Use a narrower knife or the narrower tip section of the knife with a draw stroke or a scoring motion.  Cut the food furtherest from you first and finish the cut with just the tip of knife and a little wrist flick.
                                            C) Grantons on the side of the blade like Gelestain (sp?) may work.  Fwiw, ime normal grantons, Damascus finish, etc. have little to no effect.

                                            Before spending money on a new knife, try adjusting your cutting stroke and sharpening your forschner...it will get very sharp.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: JavaBean

                                              Thanks for your reply. Do you have any phrases, videos, etc that I can follow up with for the cutting motion? I am not sure I understand.

                                              Any specific recommendations for sharpening products or technique?

                                              1. re: jvanderh

                                                The cutting stroke is sort of like this @4:30 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2YKRnv... part where he does that tomato rose thing.

                                                Stones are great if you know what your doing, else a sharp maker / angled crocksticks.

                                            2. A "granton" edge will reduce sticking. The angles you mentioned refer to the angle of the sharpened edge of the blade (Japanese blades are thinner so the angle of the sharpened edge is different than traditional knives - so you can't sharpen them with traditional knife sharpeners that are preset to the angle of a standard knife blade).

                                              The best advice I've heard on the subject of picking a knife is to get one that fits comfortably in your hand and feels good to use. Some people like a blade that rocks on the cutting board, while others like a knife that doesn't rock. Some like a 9-inch blade, others like a 7-inch blade. Some like to use a chef or santoku knife most of the time, while other prefer to use a paring knife most of the time. Everyone is different.

                                              Unless you know the exact knife you want, don't order online. Better to visit a reputable store that sells cutlery - they should let you test knifes until you find the one you like.

                                              1. I do not know where you live but today I stopped into the Austin SLT and they had a cutting board set up with a bunch of potatoes so you could try their knives. I told the guy up front I did not need or want a new knife, but he was still fine letting me play with their knives. They had a Miyabi that looked like it was a shade under 10". It was a spectacular knife in every way. The layered steel is beautiful, and it really was amazing nimble. If you are more of slicer than a chopper, I'd try one if I were you! Weight-wise it was very comparable to my old Thiers Issard 10" but the spine was a little narrower. The Japanese slightly out of round handle was very comfortable.

                                                16 Replies
                                                1. re: tim irvine

                                                  Was it the Miyabi Birchwood line? I think those look like great knives for the money!

                                                  1. re: Eiron

                                                    No, it was the Kaizen line. The birch wood are beautiful, too. If I were in the knife market, I really liked these knives. Pretty things. I dared not even try the pricier ones. I did feel sorry the potatoes were headed for the WPB. They had a copper Pommes Anna pan I'll bet they could have sold me if they'd used the potatoes to make a batch!

                                                    1. re: tim irvine

                                                      Kaizen is probably the few good knives under the Miyabi umbrella. Before that, Henckels Miyabi produced a few line of so-called Japanese knives which people did not like.

                                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                        I do enjoy my Miyabi, and the prices have come down on them. Unfortunately when I got mine I definitely overpaid.

                                                        They are beautiful knives, but just as a warning they are not the easiest to sharpen. Simply from a hardness perspective. My Miyabi takes twice as long or more then my other knives. Not a big deal, but if ease of sharpening is a factor they are more difficult. They do hold their edge longer as a result mind you.

                                                        1. re: TeRReT

                                                          And so I will remain happily united with my old French carbon steel knives, so easy to sharpen but rarely needing it if honed regularly. But I have to say their patina, while lovely, doesn't look nearly as cool as Damascus steel!

                                                          1. re: TeRReT

                                                            TeRReT,

                                                            You got one of those powder steel Miyabi, right? Powder steel is great. A poweder steel knife takes an incredible edge and lasts for a long long time. Needless to say, this also means it takes longer to sharpening -- just the law of physics really.

                                                            The Kaizen knives are VG-10, so they should be about the same as most Japanese stainless steel knives - like Shun Classic or Tojiro DP. I considered VG-10 knives (like Kaizen) to be fairly normal for sharpening purposes.

                                                            I believe the earlier models of Miyabi knives are not well liked because of the geometry. They used Japanese hard steel, but they have relatively high edge angle (20o) and, worse, the blades were thick. So even when the steel is strong, the knives cut like a typical German knives.

                                                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                              Tim, Eiron,

                                                              I am on a roadtrip and just bought a Miyabi Artisan SG-2 8" Chef knife for my friend.

                                                              http://www.surlatable.com/product/PRO...

                                                              It is still sitting in my room. It is a good looking knife, with both the hammer pattern and Damascus pattern. It is not "busy" or "overwhelming" as the photo may suggest. In the store, I was debating between the Miyabi or the Shun Asian Chef's 7" knife

                                                              http://www.surlatable.com/product/PRO...

                                                              The Shun Asian Chef's knife is not listed on the Sur La Table, and funny thing is that the knife alone is on sale ($119.99) but is still more expensive than the combo pack ($99.96):

                                                              http://www.surlatable.com/product/PRO...
                                                              http://www.amazon.com/Shun-DM0760-Cla...

                                                              I was impressed by the Shun knife too. Although it is 7", it does not feel short. It has a very straight edge compared to more Chef's knife. I think it would work very well as a push cutting knife (and probably not good as a rock chopping knife). Impressive nonetheless.

                                                              At the end, I just went with the Miyabi. I actually like the Shun just as much. The Shun is much lighter, but the Miyabi looks more flashy (both the blade and the handle) and is made with the powder steel. I got the gift receipt, so his wife can return it. It isn't as heavy as a standard Wushof or Henckels, but I do know many women like shorter and lighter knife, which explains the popularity of Santoku.

                                                              Oh yes, the Sur La Table people were nice and said that they can sharpened the knife. I have my slight reservation since this is a powder steel knife and has a narrow bevel angle, but they assure me that they have professional sharpener who understand the difference of 10 degree vs 15 degree vs 20 degree...etc. The sharpening price is supposed to be very good. I think she said $1 per inch.

                                                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                I liked the Shun "Asian Chef Knife" when I saw it a few years ago:
                                                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/756181

                                                                I think it's profile is definitely more along the lines of a traditional gyuto, & I appreciate the improved comfort & balance of the smaller diameter 'Shun D' handle. And the $99 combo price is still a great deal!! If I had seen this knife before finding the Kanetsune I definitely would've bought it.

                                                                Did you also look at the Miyabi Birchwood line ?
                                                                http://www.surlatable.com/product/PRO...
                                                                Quite a bit more expensive than their Artisan line, but I thought the weight, balance & ergonomics were exceptional.

                                                                Is this going to be your friend's first experience with an asian-style knife & SG2 steel? It's a nice looking knife!

                                                                1. re: Eiron

                                                                  Yeah, I absolutely remember someone tried the Asian Chef knife and reported liking it, and I thought it was you too, but I wasn't sure. I actually thought the knife looks even more straight than many gyuto that I know of. I saw the Miyabi Birchwood, but I didn't ask to handle/play with them. I only played with the Shun Asian Chef knife and the Miyabi Artian SG-2 knives. Yeah, this SG-2 should be their first high quality knife, and definitely the first Japanese steel knife. The current knives they have are fairly old, and are dull. They look to be departmental store Sabatier stainless steel knives.

                                                                  http://www.amazon.com/Sabatier-Stampe...

                                                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                    Nice pick, chem. Why did you choose the SG2 over the VG-10 blade steel....for a first jknife user?

                                                                    1. re: JavaBean

                                                                      You know I thought about that. After all SG2 certainly is more difficult to sharpen than VG-10. I think the my choice was based on a few aspects. First, a 8" Chef's SG-2 powder steel knife being sold for $140 is a pretty good deal. Shun has several SG-2 lines of knife, among which I believe Kaji and Hiro are cheaper. Still, a Kaji or a Shun Hiro 8" Chef knives would have costed for $300.

                                                                      http://www.williams-sonoma.com/produc...&

                                                                      A Rysen 210 mm (~8") SG-2 gyuto is $230.

                                                                      http://japanesechefsknife.com/RyusenB...

                                                                      Second, in theory, a SG-2 knife can keep its edge longer than a VG-10 knife. Yes, the sharpening will be more difficult, but I don't think my friend and his family will sharpen their knives on their own, let the steel be 420 or SG-2. Since they will send the knife out for sharpening, then it shouldn't matter to them. The sale at Sur La Table assured me that the shop can provide the proper sharpening.

                                                                      Finally, I was really deciding between the Shun VG-10 7" Asian Chef's knife against this Miyabi Artian SG-2 knife.

                                                                      http://www.amazon.com/Shun-DM0760-Cla...

                                                                      The Shun knife actually was impressive. It is much ligther and appears to be thinner too. The blade profile is very straight. However, it is also more different than a standard Western Chef's knife. By constrast, the Miyabi Artian actually feels more like a German Chef's knife in weight and in shape, so I thought it may feel better for a beginner.

                                                                      At the end, I was really relying on the return recipt. :) I told her (my friend's wife) at least 4 times that she should feel comfortable to return the knife if she does not like it, and I don't take it personally if she does.

                                                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                        Thanks chem, your logic makes sense.  I was eyeballing the Miyabi birchwood, and Shun Asian Chef knife for my wife, but she doesn't like wa handles and needed a blade with more belly curve.  If the Artisan was available at the time and price, I probably would have picked it over the Fusion / Kaizen @ $100.  I haven't worked with SG-2, but it's one of those powdered / tool grade == knife dork class steels that holds an edge and takes forever to sharpen.  

                                                                        I've handled the Shun Asian a few times at SLT.  Interesting blade.  As you said, it's very light with a mostly flat edge.  

                                                                        1. re: JavaBean

                                                                          < I probably would have picked it over the Fusion / Kaizen @ $100. >

                                                                          I looked at Fusion and Kaizen and they are both VG-10 and about the same price range. So which one did you pick for your wife? Are you (or she) happy thus far? Thanks.

                                                                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                            My wife opted for the Fusion and shortly after using it, a friend bought the Kaizen. After about a year or so, both are happy and neither knife has had any performance or sharpening issues. Overall, i think they are as good or better than any retail store knife, the VG-10 performs and behaves very well, sharpen easily, etc. They're more than good enough for normal folks, but kinda mundane and boring from the knife dork side of things. Great f&f, Damascus, vg-10, ss....yuck!!!!

                                                    2. re: tim irvine

                                                      I'm in San Diego, but I'll google it. Thanks for posting!

                                                      1. re: tim irvine

                                                        Yup, great knife. I bought my wife one, back when it first came out for ~$100, but they've gone up a bit.

                                                        Fwiw, the wa handled models have a more flat cutting edge, while the western handled models have a more curved cutting edge...in vg-10 or sg2 steel.

                                                      2. I have Henkel's, Shun and Global.

                                                        Though it is a personal thing i like my global knives the best.

                                                        They're super durable (which Shun is not) Stay sharp for ever if you steel them often (which Geman knives do not).

                                                        I love all my knives but if I could only have one I would pick the global. I've had mine for more than 12 years it gets used daily and looks almost like new.

                                                        (actually i I could only have one knife it would be a bob kramer original - but I don't have the 4-5k (at least that it takes to buy one of those)

                                                        http://kramerknives.com/knives/

                                                        19 Replies
                                                        1. re: sparky403

                                                          <They're super durable (which Shun is not) >

                                                          :) Probably you are the minority here.

                                                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/600585

                                                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/508641

                                                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/660856

                                                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/347947

                                                          1. re: sparky403

                                                            I dropped my shun and had to get it sharpened right away.... it put a ding in the blade.

                                                            a few years ago at thankgiving my frend demo'd her shun boning a turkey.

                                                            Global has worked best for me - I'm not easy on them and they have been absolutely bullet proof. Though I will add I have only the 8in chef's knive. It appears that the knives that failed were boneing etc knives... anyway, I am very happy - I have found them to be the cast iron skillet o knives.. also the one I always grab for....

                                                            I love all my knives but again, if I could have only one of my current knives it would be the global.

                                                            1. re: sparky403

                                                              I am glad that your global knife has worked out for you. Global has many lines of knives. Some has better reputation than others. Good luck

                                                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                Global also came recommended today by Jim. Any specific recommendations?

                                                                1. re: jvanderh

                                                                  <Global also came recommended today by Jim>

                                                                  Dumb question probably, but who is Jim? Knifesaver or another Jim?

                                                                  <Any specific recommendations?>

                                                                  I think I have given quiet a few recommendations, no?

                                                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                    Knifesaver. Yup, I've gotten lots of suggestions. I was wondering if anyone had a specific Global recommendation to add to the list. I don't think you had included any of those, had you?

                                                                    1. re: jvanderh

                                                                      <I was wondering if anyone had a specific Global recommendation to add to the list>

                                                                      You mean a specific Global? You should specify your question. To be honest, I don't recall you have specifically ask for this until now.

                                                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                        I'm not suggesting that I've ruled out all the other brands. I thought it was interesting that Global was mentioned to me twice in one day. The post "Global also came recommended today by Jim. Any specific recommendations?" seems pretty unambiguous to me, especially as it was a direct reply to your comment about some Global knives being better than others.

                                                                        1. re: jvanderh

                                                                          <"Global also came recommended today by Jim. Any specific recommendations?" was pretty unambiguous>

                                                                          Maybe in your mind that it is pretty unambiguous. I was communicating back and forth with sparky that Global has a historical issue of durability, at the very least according to internet.

                                                                          If you said that you dislike McDonald, and I replied to you that "But my neighbor like McDonald, do you have any specific recommendations?" Would it not sound to you that I was asking for a different fast food chain recommendation, as opposed to a specific McDonald item.

                                                                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                            If I said that some McDonalds items are better than others and you responded asking me if I had any specific recommendations, I would tell you that I like their ice cream.

                                                                          2. re: jvanderh

                                                                            I have the standard 8" global chef's knife (g series) - I also bought a 4.5 inch utility knife - it was marketed as their 50th anniversary model.... I think this is the exact one...

                                                                            http://www.knifemerchant.com/product....

                                                                    2. re: jvanderh

                                                                      Good grief don't buy a Global. If you really must buy a used one for pennies on the dollar. They were the latest/greatest in the early 90's and yes I bought them like every other Chef @ the time. They are a pain to sharpen properly and many hate the handles, although I never had that complaint with mine. You've got numerous suggestions on this thread that would be a better choice.

                                                                      1. re: TraderJoe

                                                                        <They are a pain to sharpen properly>

                                                                        I think cowboyardee was correct that it is initially very difficult to sharpen due to the curved convex bevel, but it get easier in time. Now, if we want to preserve the factory edge, then it will very difficult.

                                                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                          Yes that's accurate. The factor edge is a RPIT*. Setting that aside Globals are pigs. I mean they are Wusthof thick on the gyuto. I haven't seen one suggested in a loooooong time. Maybe some one just read Kitchen Confidential?

                                                                          1. re: TraderJoe

                                                                            I personally don't recommend Global, but I acknowledge that some people like them. Like anything, different items appeal to different people. Yeah, now that you mentioned this: the suggestion for Global has gone down in past years. They do have a very futuristic look to them. :D

                                                                      2. re: jvanderh

                                                                        Go to a store and hold a global before you buy one. This is more important with global then any other knife. They feel very different. Some people love them, I on the other hand am not a fan, they feel terrible in my hand.

                                                                        1. re: TeRReT

                                                                          TeRReT,

                                                                          Have you added a knife since we last time (the time which you bought a small carbon steel no-name knife and a stone off the street). I know you have been visiting some big name blacksmith shops like Takeda and all. Still thinking or have you gotten one?

                                                                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                            Well I have the small no name petty and I then bought the no name ridiculously cheap nakira that I fixed am enjoying. I won't be buying a knife until february. For my birthday we will go travel to kyoto and to niimi and I will get hands on some of the knives before buying. Or maybe when I am in Toronto I will check the stores there and I can see the knives from different makers without having to travel to two different areas.

                                                                            75% sure it will be a gyuto next.

                                                                            1. re: TeRReT

                                                                              Happy B-day if I don't get to say it then.

                                                                              If you have spare money, you should consider getting a CCK knife for $40-50. A pretty inexpensive for their qualities, and it gives you the opportunity to try a very different style of knives.

                                                                              I don't know about the availability of natural stones in Japan, I can only assume it is better than in North American. Last time I visited Tosho, Ivan introduced me to a few of Shobu stones for ~$70, and claimed these Shobu stones have the range of 5000-10,000 grit. If so, then they are cheaper than synthetic stones. I considered to either get his natural stone or a Konosuke petty, and at the end I got the petty as you may remember.

                                                                2. The knives I reach for most are a Henckels 8" chef's knife, a Victorinox boning/filet knife and a Henckels santoku. All 3 work fine for me, but I've found that sticky foods like potatoes are much easier to cut with the santoku. I keep them sharp with the ridiculously cheap AccuSharp 001 handheld sharpener bought on Amazon for under $10. 4-5 passes will bring them to a paper cut edge, takes about 10 seconds.

                                                                  My knifes get sharpened every 3-4 weeks, when a few passes with a steel no longer bring the edge back. Because it gets such frequent use, I reverse the blades on my sharpener every 6 months and replace them every year. I haven't used my Chef's Choice electric sharpener in years, there's been no need.

                                                                  Back in my youth I was a speed skater and sharpened my skate blades with stones, an arduous process involving oil and 3 stones; I don't want to deal with sharpening stones in my kitchen. When my knife needs a new edge, I want it NOW! The AccuSharp does that for me. 4-5 passes over the knife, wipe it clean and I'm back in business.

                                                                  So that's my sharpener rec. For an everyday knife, your sticking problem could be resolved with a decent santoku knife. My only complaint with mine is that it doesn't have much of a curved blade. That's something you'll definitely want to look for if you prefer a rocking motion when slicing. If you're more of a chopper, then it won't matter, a small curve will work well. If I were looking for a replacement for mine, I'd likely go with Shun. They've got the curve and quality I like. Definitely follow others advice and visit a store where you can handles the knives. If they're not comfortable in your hand, you'll hate them, no matter how good they are.

                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                  1. re: DuffyH

                                                                    Duffy, I also used an Accusharp at work. Evetually the edge does not last as long after subsequent sharpennings.

                                                                    The edge is getting shorter and needs to be reprofiled or thinned. The Accusharp cannot thin the edge.

                                                                    Chad Ward describes this process as follows:
                                                                    "the metal behind the edge gets progressively thicker as the knife is sharpened over time. The knife doesn’t cut as well and becomes harder and harder to sharpen. The answer is to grind the shoulders off the edge at an acute angle, i.e. add a back bevel, then reestablish the primary bevel."

                                                                    The complete online tutotial is here:
                                                                    http://forums.egullet.org/topic/26036...

                                                                    1. re: bbqJohn

                                                                      Chad probably should take those online articles offline. :) They are not helping his book sale. :P

                                                                      Great articles, great book.

                                                                      1. re: bbqJohn

                                                                        I didn't know that, thanks. I'm sure it will happen fairly soon since I've been using the sharpener for 2 years. So there's surely a trip to a sharpener in my future. You've saved me from the embarrassment that would surely follow if I plopped them on his counter and grunted "knife dull. won't cut."

                                                                        Thanks as well for the link to the tutorial. I gave it a thorough read and came away convinced that sharpening with stones is not where I want to go. After spending 45 minutes every week to sharpen my skate blades, which were flat but still needed to be precisely aligned in a jig, tackling the precise edges on knives isn't where I'm headed. I'd rather just cook.

                                                                    2. Man - I feel much better about my knife addiction after reading this thread:-).

                                                                      I don't have it nearly as bad as lots of you:-) (something for me to aspire to in the new year).

                                                                      Just wondering, has anyone here used a Kramer Original (from Bob himself?).

                                                                      I was super impressed with the recent top chef episode when Micha (I think) won one of the oridginals.

                                                                      Lots of very valuable information here.. one of the better thread I've ever read or participated in ... Thank you all.

                                                                      1. I saw Jim today to have the Victorinox sharpened on a belt sander and got a lesson on equipment and technique. So, the Vict will now be fairly compared to whatever replaces it. Time to tackle the giant pumpkin languishing in my kitchen.

                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                        1. re: jvanderh

                                                                          So it is a sharpening issue afterall.

                                                                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                            Ask me in a week. I am sure I'll like it better than before, but I may still want to replace it.

                                                                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                              Well incoming it was dull and chipped needing some moderate heavy work but not the flaming trainwrecks I sometimes fix.

                                                                              Showed J how to raise a burr on a 220 grit waterstone and then flipped it over and did the other side on my fine India slipstone to show burr basics. Finished the rest up on the belt sander until it could cut a rolled up paper towel in a slight stroke and push cut paper.

                                                                              It cuts very fine for a Forschner but you know it will depend how it performs in the kitchen.

                                                                              Jim

                                                                              1. re: knifesavers

                                                                                <Well incoming it was dull and chipped>

                                                                                I didn't think his knife will be flaming trainwrecks, but I did suspect the knife may not be properly sharpened. Thanks for showing J the skill and technique. You are a generous person to do this, and it has always been a pleasure to talk to you on CHOWHOUND.

                                                                                <it could cut a rolled up paper towel in a slight stroke and push cut paper.>

                                                                                That is probably as good as a kitchen knife need to be. :)

                                                                                <It cuts very fine for a Forschner but you know it will depend how it performs in the kitchen.>

                                                                                I have no doubt that it will perform very nice. Many out-of-the-box knives cannot push cut paper, so you have made the knife sharper than when it was new.

                                                                          2. As pricey as they are you really can't go wrong with a set of CUTCO knives. those things are wicked sharp and have an amazing guarantee to boot.

                                                                            9 Replies
                                                                            1. re: jo_jo_ba

                                                                              You will be very hard pressed to get any support for cutco knives I am afraid.

                                                                              1. re: TeRReT

                                                                                Cutco really aren't that expensive. Different knives for different people, right? Cutco should work fine for this original poster.

                                                                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                  Aren't they even softer steel than the one I don't like?

                                                                                  1. re: jvanderh

                                                                                    No, they should be about the same.

                                                                                    1. re: jvanderh

                                                                                      Cutco are made of a steel very similar to a pocket knife. The handle is more of an acquired taste than a Global. They are very over rated but not utter junk.

                                                                                      Glad to have been able to help J but depending on how you like it now go see Dave at The Knife Merchant for a replacement suggestion. He has Masahiros which are excellent Japanese knives but will require specific sharpening but now that you understand burrs you could learn to take care of them

                                                                                      As far as Globals go based upon the incoming condition of the two and ease of resharpening compared to Shun knives I'd go Global if the handle is acceptable and I had top choose between those two makers.

                                                                                      With the variety of other Japanese makes I wouldn't get either Shun or Global.

                                                                                      Jim

                                                                                      1. re: knifesavers

                                                                                        "They are very over rated but not utter junk."

                                                                                        Cutco is as close to junk as you can get. Not because of the steel but the absurd price. ($114 for 8" chef) You can buy a quality J-knife for what one costs or several forschners. Either would be a vastly better option.

                                                                                        1. re: TraderJoe

                                                                                          I agree that they are not great $110+ knives but they are not the worst thing out there. Of the 2000+ blades I sharpened last year they were not the bottom ones.

                                                                                          Microserrated and uber cheap made in China stainless are far worse than Cutco.

                                                                                          Cutco steel reminds me of Kiwi steel in that it is a highly polished very rust resistant 440 ish steel. Probably between a Kiwi and Forschner.

                                                                                          Jim

                                                                                          1. re: knifesavers

                                                                                            I think you two (TradeJoe and knifesavers) agree with each other very well. You two both agree that the quality of Cutco knives are not bad. Not the best, but really not bad 440A steel knives. Probably good enough for most people really.

                                                                                            If I have to pick the "bottonneck" of kitchen cutlery, then I would say that most American kitchen knives are really limited by "sharpening strategy" more than "quality of steel".

                                                                                            Almost everyone's concern is that Cutco knives being more expensive than their should be. That is the real dispute really.

                                                                                            <Probably between a Kiwi and Forschner.>

                                                                                            Well, I would hope that Cutco knives are between Forschner and Wusthof -- considering the price.

                                                                                    2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                      I agree. I have 2 cutco knives and love them. Their cheese knife is great. I've owned several different ones, but the cutco is just more comfortable in my hand. The other is their sandwich spreader/slicer that someone gave me back in college, about a hundred yrs ago. It lost it's edge long ago and won't cut anything, but it's a dandy little spreader!

                                                                                2. Let me start off by saying quite a few of the previous posters forgot more about knives than I know. I have had a Wusthof Classic set for a good 20 years and love it. Last year, on the advice of several posters above, I picked up a 10 inch Tojiro DP Chefs knife & Tojiro DP Nikiri.

                                                                                  Both the Tojiro knives are much thinner that the Wusthof and cut though things much, much easier.

                                                                                  After a ton of research, I also bought an Edge Pro Apex sharpener (about $250.00). It is the best sharpener I have ever used by far. I brought the angle on the Wusthof knives down a "little" and made them much sharper than when new.

                                                                                  The Tojiro knives are like scalpels and are used accordingly. The Wusthof's are used for cutting things I would not want to risk the thinner Tojiro blades cutting.

                                                                                  IMHO, the ability to precisely sharpen a knife is almost as important as the knife itself. All the knives mentioned above are good if sharp. If I could start from scratch, I would buy an Edge Pro Apex and practice sharpening what I already had. Then hunt E-Bay for used Wusthof classics (50% off or better) and bring them to razor sharpness with the Edge Pro. Then I would get the Tojiro's.

                                                                                  6 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: Tom34

                                                                                    <I also bought an Edge Pro Apex sharpener (about $250.00). It is the best sharpener I have ever used by far>

                                                                                    Yes, but probably the most expensive sharpener you have ever used by far too. :) Just teasing.

                                                                                    <the ability to precisely sharpen a knife is almost as important as the knife itself>

                                                                                    I disagree. The ability to sharpen is "more" important than the knife :P Teasing you again. I do honestly think sharpening skill is very important. A properly sharpened Dexter or Victorinox will perform much better than a improperly sharpened Murray Carter knife or Takeda knife.

                                                                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                      By far the most expensive sharpener I ever owned. My only regret is all the $$ I spent on stones & gadgets over the years. I now use the Accu Sharp for the lawn mower blades.

                                                                                      But Chem, the Edge Pro really works....and not just works, but it works to perfection. Ben really knew what he was doing.

                                                                                      PS: The rubber wood board still working well. Will convert you to an old school 1980's (EBAY) used Italian made Foodsaver. Just sealed 12 dry aged strip steaks tonight. The 3 we didn't seal were delicious.

                                                                                      1. re: Tom34

                                                                                        <My only regret is all the $$ I spent on stones & gadgets over the years.>

                                                                                        Yeah, I can totally understand. If you really think you will never use the stones, then maybe you should give them to your relatives or friends. Or sell them even at 1/5th the price. You get something, and someone get to make use of them. It is probably still a good idea to leave a ~1000 grit stone at home just in case, you know.

                                                                                        <But Chem, the Edge Pro really works....and not just works, but it works to perfection>

                                                                                        I don't doubt it. I hear many good things about it.

                                                                                        <The rubber wood board still working well>

                                                                                        Oh good to hear. :) I am really happy that it is working out for you. Sometime inexpensive tools work just as good. Thanks for letting me know.

                                                                                        <Will convert you to an old school 1980's (EBAY) used Italian made Foodsaver.>

                                                                                        :) Why the 1980's Foodsaver as opposed to the today Foodsaver? Is it just the lower price or is the 1980's model actually better?

                                                                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                          Will get back to you on the old foodsaver. lights out here, EST.

                                                                                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                            1980's - early 1990's model was much, much better built. Powerful moisture tolerant piston pump.... heavy powerful transformer & heavy duty sealing bar. Those are the key components of a vacuum sealer and today's big box store machines don't have them. The old machines could also be repaired.

                                                                                            Thom Dolder has been selling & repairing them for about 30 years. His site, VacuPackers has many videos & pictures of the older machines that were sold under 3 names.

                                                                                            The best read I have seen on the (old vs new) can be found by Googling " Foodsaver history, PMG ". Thom covers the inner workings pretty well in that article.

                                                                                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                              Kinda parallels the older Hobart Kitchen Aid vs today's Kitchen aid.

                                                                                      2. I have used many different knives over the years and i have come to realize that $25 knives can outperform some of my far more expensive knives as long as the blade is well maintained. Fibrox makes excellent econmical knives that are used very very commonly in commercial cooking because they are comfortable, santiary, light for quick kife work and easy to keep sharp with the use of a proper cutting sruface. I always have my knives sharpened professionally and then I use a steel for kepping the blade strait between sharpenings. Cheap home sharpeners will most likely hurt rather than sharpen your blade. A good sharpening device will and should cost more than the knife. Just be aware of the native blade angle, most large chef's knives are on the order of 15 degrees, santoku and paring often as low at 10 degrees and cleavers/chopping knives can be 20 degrees. larger is more durable, smaller equals finer slicing. If you have time on your hands by all means become a sharpening expert, but it takes a long time to get truly great at it, and great sharpening lasts longer the mediocre sharpening. One of the biggest factors is the surface the knife contacts. Marble? yikes, wood? much better for the knife, plastic not too bad, glass, yikes again.

                                                                                        1. A couple days after sharpening, my knife catches and tears the paper when I'm push cutting, won't shave arm hair, and can't cut through a pumpkin stem at all. (Yes, I wash it and dry it every time I use it. In the interest of preserving my mental health, I am not going to participate in any future discussion about why I should like the Victorinox because it's good enough for chefs and I'm just not using it right or how it's my plastic cutting board's fault. We're going to have to agree to disagree) Thanks to those who gave suggestions. I think it's safe to say the next one will be harder and significantly thinner, and maybe with grantons. I have read through all the responses and made a list of knives to consider. If anyone wants to throw out any additional ones, I'll check into those too. I'm also considering adding a clever for cutting up chickens and so forth.

                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: jvanderh

                                                                                            Victorinox will cut you to the bone for weeks to come when sharpened properly. So will Dexter . Going back up to a previous thread, I am not a knife expert like many of the above posters, but IMHO, If you have not mastered free hand sharpening, spending $$$ on a proven knife sharpening system is as important as the $$$ you spend on the knife. My career has nothing to do with sales of any kind, and spending about $225.00 on an Edge Pro Apex was the best money I ever spent. After using the Edge Pro apex, I can shave with my Wusthof classics and preform culinary surgery with my Tojiro's.

                                                                                            1. re: jvanderh

                                                                                              If you've been using your knife for tasks like cutting through pumpkin stems that's why it's dull. Spending more $$ on a new knife may only help with that a nominal amount and in some cases will introduce other problems, especially with hard thinner knives. They are simply not suited to that task IMO. I think it's good that you are considering a cleaver to go with what ever you buy in the future.
                                                                                              For cleavers the good ole Dexter should be around $30-40 if you want SS or I'm sure others can offer input on which CCK might be the best choice.

                                                                                              1. re: jvanderh

                                                                                                Keep in mind, it'l be hard to find a *thinner* knife (much less "significantly thinner"!) than the stamped Victorinox. (I've heard that the Glestain knives are as thick as Henckels & Wusthof knives, but I've never handled one in person.) And at that thinness, any knife that's *harder* is also going to be more brittle, which will limit it's usefulness on tougher items like vegetable stems & shells.

                                                                                                Besides some kind of sharpening plan (even if that plan is to take it to someone else to sharpen), you'll probably want to switch to an end-grain wood cutting board & eliminate pivoting cutting motions (e.g., mincing) to help preserve the easier-to-chip edge of a hard, thin knife.