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Mercer knives, anyone?

blaireso Mar 19, 2013 01:00 PM

My stepson has asked for a set of five Mercer knives for his birthday, complete with a glass knife block. Very pretty, but just call me cautious. I had planned to get him a 4 pc set of Victorinox Fibrox knives, an Acco sharpener and one of those knife blocks that have beads in them. But, if this is what he wants, so be it. His knife skills are moderate, and he's intimidated by my 10" chef's, so they might work better. That said, I'm curious and am asking CHers what their opinion and experience of Mercer knives is, and if I'm buying him something he'll be happy with for years ahead.

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  1. Chemicalkinetics RE: blaireso Mar 19, 2013 02:05 PM

    A few other CH here have good things to say about the Mercer knives. That being said, can you specify which line of Mercer knives you are looking at? They are different, and my opinions are different for them.


    7 Replies
    1. re: Chemicalkinetics
      blaireso RE: Chemicalkinetics Mar 19, 2013 02:16 PM

      Hi, Chem, thanks for responding. Here is the amazon link, hopefully it works, I usually click on YOUR links, not send any of my own!


      1. re: blaireso
        Chemicalkinetics RE: blaireso Mar 19, 2013 02:44 PM

        Genesis should be acceptable. I think Victorinox Fibrox knives will work well. Not only because the steel is good, but the blade is relatively thin, which makes them easier to cut food. Fibrox knives are stamped knives, and some people just prefer forged knives. Mercer Genesis knives are forged knives.

        Both BBQJohn and knifesavers have said that they have good experience with the knives.

        1. re: Chemicalkinetics
          blaireso RE: Chemicalkinetics Mar 19, 2013 05:58 PM

          Thank you very much. I got a little suspicious when all the Amazon reviews praised how "pretty" the knife set is, I guess referring to the glass block they come with. I'm more interested in performance, so I'm reassured by your comments. It's now a moot point, since his father ordered some sort of electronic thang instead. However, it remains on the list for the future. The one thing I don't like about the set he wants is the 8" bread knife, but so it goes.

          Talking about thin blades, this is the reason I treasure my one Mac knife, which I've had for probably 40 years. Still razor sharp, and because it's so thin, it's my "go to" knife for onions.

          1. re: blaireso
            Chemicalkinetics RE: blaireso Mar 19, 2013 06:51 PM

            Your welcome.

            < It's now a moot point, since his father ordered some sort of electronic thang instead.>

            Are you referring electric knives, like these?


            Electric knives, while interesting, are no substitution for regular knives. When I said "no substitution", I don't mean to be on my high horse, like saying "A Porsche is not substitution for a Ferrari" I really mean it like "a boat is no substitution for a car".

            I can see an electric knife carving a roast pork or a cutting a loaf of bread, but I can imagine what it is like to dice onion and chop broccoli.

            1. re: Chemicalkinetics
              blaireso RE: Chemicalkinetics Mar 20, 2013 12:40 PM

              Oh, no no no no. I think my father had one back in the 60s, I can't claim the honor. Not interested, at absolutely all.

              No, DH bought him something for his TV, and some cables. Despite several requests for the knives, DH felt he NEEDED the electronics much more. Guess it's a guy thing. I don't get it, but then again I'm into knives.

              1. re: blaireso
                Chemicalkinetics RE: blaireso Mar 20, 2013 01:27 PM

                <DH bought him something for his TV, and some cables.>

                Oh, ok. Thanks for the explanation. :)

        2. re: blaireso
          knifesavers RE: blaireso Mar 20, 2013 11:32 AM

          Mercer is all about bang for buck not uber super blade.

          That set looks pretty and has adequate blades at an average $23 each and other than lacking a steel has most of the bases covered.

          Looking at The Knife Merchants site, since he sells Mercer and the other top makes, the 8" chef is $37 where all the top German 8" are $90-120.

          Yes they are better and the price reflects that but Mercer are in between the top Germans and the Forschner and Dexters but look like the top Germans to impress your friends.

          You can spend much more and get better or you can spend about the same and get a bit worse.

          FWIW they sharpen about as easy as a Wusthof to me.

          So we have adequate steel, easily resharpened or steeled, good looks, cool looking block, is what he wants, and a cheap price.

          Can't beat that to me.

          I know a fishmonger who is quite happy with a Millenia 10" and a happy line cook with a Genesis 8".


      2. Eiron RE: blaireso Mar 20, 2013 09:26 AM

        Hi blaireso,

        I'm going to suggest that you choose a different brand.

        I've only worked with one Meridian knife, the Genesis 10" chef. It was NOT especially noteworthy in its blade qualities. I sharpened (& modified) it for a local Food Bank kitchen after the chef working there commented that it wouldn't keep an edge for any length of time. (Note: she had QUITE a variety of knives in the FB kitchen to work with!) She also hated the balance & 'feel' of the knife, but that's a separate isssue from the knife's 'quality'.

        Since your stepson seems partial to the look/feel of forged knives, he'll probably view the better-performing Victorinox knives as 'cheap'. (An invalid assumption based on effective marketing by forged knife makers, but that's something he'll have to learn about on his own.) I'd suggest going with the Messermeister Meridian series. They're forged, & the blade quality is favorably compared to that of both Henckels & Wusthof while maintaining a price point below comparable lines from either of those brands. Unfortunately, you'll still spend at least twice that of the Mercer knives:


        The bad news:
        No boning knife or block at that price.

        The good news:
        Partial bolsters!
        9" bread knife.
        Quality that he'll be happy with for years.

        Something to consider for the next gift-giving opportunity....

        5 Replies
        1. re: Eiron
          Chemicalkinetics RE: Eiron Mar 20, 2013 09:33 AM

          Yeah, I always like to suggest the Messermeister for people who cannot quiet afford Wusthof and Henckels. The parital bolster is a good thing -- for hand sharpening or even electric knife sharpeners.

          1. re: Eiron
            blaireso RE: Eiron Mar 20, 2013 12:37 PM

            Well, this is probably not in our budget unless he gets these for two years running. But I might buy one or two for myself one of these days. Hmm, to give or not to give! Since he killed my favorite boning knife awhile back (put in dishwasher, slammed door on it, not pretty) I really think I'll just get him the Mercers and leave him to it. The consensus seems to be that the Mercers are "acceptable" and that's my goal. Since they'll be his, he'll learn to respect his tools and be one more step towards using knives without being intimidated. He'll get there eventually.

            Question: there are many Messermeister series. I get the olive wood handle "Oliva" but can anyone address the differences between the Meridian, Park Plaza, San Moritz, etc? I haven't looked for knives for myself for a long time, except to buy one here and there. Got my eye on a 10" bread knife and a granton edge slicer, for example. I'm baking more bread these days since I have the time, so the longer bread knife will be welcome. My old 8" is getting dull and I just don't see the point in taking it in for sharpening. It will be demoted to the garden or whatever. Magnetic knife rack is out of room! And, newly retired, I'm on a pretty restricted budget. Lust after Japanese knives, probably ain't gonna happen in this lifetime unfortunately.

            You mentioned Henckels. I had several a long time ago, didn't like them. Never found that they held an edge very long.

            1. re: blaireso
              Chemicalkinetics RE: blaireso Mar 20, 2013 01:36 PM

              <the differences between the Meridian, Park Plaza, San Moritz, etc>

              I didn't know about the new Oliva until you mentioned it. As for the other three, Meridian and San Moritz have the same steel and are forged knives The handle designs are different. Meridian has triple-rivet handles. San Moritz tang in inserted into the handle with enclosure. Park Plaza knives are stamped knives.

              < Lust after Japanese knives, probably ain't gonna happen in this lifetime unfortunately.>

              Many Japanese knives prices are reasonable, cheaper than Wushof and Henckels.

              1. re: blaireso
                knifesavers RE: blaireso Mar 20, 2013 02:11 PM


                Dave at The Knife Merchant carries the whole Messermeister line along with other Germans and Japanese.


                1. re: knifesavers
                  blaireso RE: knifesavers Mar 21, 2013 01:52 PM

                  Thanks. This site also has great descriptions of knives. After reading everyone's comments, it seems to me that what I want to do is find a local merchant and take some of these babies out of the case to see if the balance works for me. For my stepson, I don't think he has any idea yet so anything of reasonable quality will thrill him. This site will provide me with many hours of enjoyable research!

            2. b
              bbqJohn RE: blaireso Mar 20, 2013 06:31 PM

              Although I have owned and used (at work and home) fibrox/plastic handle Forschners and Dexters.. my preference like your son is for a forged knife. It looks a lot more upscale versus a plastic handle knife. I am slowly gifting away my fibrox/plastic handle knives.

              My preference for a low price point forged knife is Update International Forged line. They have the same look and feel of much more expensive German knives but at a much lower price point.


              1 Reply
              1. re: bbqJohn
                blaireso RE: bbqJohn Mar 21, 2013 01:49 PM

                Thank you so much! I've bookmarked this for my next foray into knifedom. I like the partial bolster of this one, it helps when you want to sharpen--I don't use a stone more than a few times a year, relying more on a Chefs Choice manual that has slots for both asian and european knives, and a ceramic steel in between. I actually prefer a thinner blade, but I have a couple so maybe this would be a good one for my own collection, also his starter set. I've always used a 10" chef's knife, but find that my guests find the extra length and heft a little intimidating. I don't want accidents, and I've always got someone helping during parties, etc. I really appreciate your suggestion, bbqJohn.

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