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8" chef knife & meat cleaver

I am looking for two knives.

1. 8-inch chef's knife
2. meat cleaver
* best/easiest apparatus to sharpen them with also *

Price is not a huge problem for me but this is how I would like to approach this. I would like to purchase two knives that are the best possible purchase for the least amount of money spent. An example would be if someone said,

"[i]If you are looking for the best quality knives for the cheapest amount of money then you should spend at least $300 on __ or __ at the very least. Anything under that is not worth it and you should save until you can afford __ or __. Anything over that is good but not necessary for what you posted.[/i]"

Or someone might say that I can get two good knives for much cheaper and then they list the specific knife(s) that they are referring to.

So, price is not particularly an issue but I want to spend the least amount possible while still getting two knives that are worth the money. Thank you!

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  1. For meat cleavers, what do you want to do with it? Most people only use one occasionally (like once a month or even longer). In which case, any meat cleaver with a medium to thick blade is good enough, so you are looking at about $10-20. If you want something really heavy duty, then you can look into Dexter-Russell heavy meat cleavers:

    http://www.katom.com/135-08220.html

    I believe Victorinox also has something similar.

    For your 8" Chef's knife, the best value Chef's knife (one of the best) are the Victorinox/Forschner stamped chef's knives ($20-40):

    http://www.amazon.com/Victorinox-Swis...

    http://www.amazon.com/Victorinox-8-In...

    If you want something a bit more refine, sharper, hold the edge longer, then I recommend the Tojiro DP Chef's knife:

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

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

    For knife sharpening, I recommend using a stone if you are willing to learn. I say it takes about a couple of days to a week to learn. If you don't want to learn, there are many options for knife sharpening. cowboyardee did an excellent job of summarizing the options:

    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7971...

    I would recommend against electric knife sharpeners, but they are not so horrible. I just think there are better options especially for a couple of knives.

    Let's us know if you are looking for something specific, like stainless steel vs carbon steel, medium blade vs thin blade, flatter cutting edge vs curvier edge...etc.

    1. Do you have particular uses in mind for the cleaver? I bought a good meat cleaver 40 years ago and as far as I can remember, I've never used it once. So the best way to save money on that item might be not to buy it until you know you're going to use it.

      For the chef's knife and other "normal" knives (not thick like a cleaver, not Japanese), Cook's Illustrated recommends the Chef's Choice Model 130 Professional Sharpening Station (electric), for $150 from amazon.com, and the all-purpose manual AccuSharp Knife and Tool Sharpener, for $10 from Bed Bath and Beyond. Being a cheapskate, I got the AccuSharp, and it keeps my knives sharp enough for me.

      Cooks Illustrated also recommends the Victorinox/Forschner chef's knife that Chemicalkinetics speaks of, as not just best value but one of the best, and they use it in their America's Test Kitchen and Cook's Country TV programs.

      1. I've had a Dexter Russel for years. It does not get a lot of use but it does get used. The price was right and luckily I have enough drawer space to house it. Instead of a cleaver, how about a Nikiri?

        1. [quote=Chemicalkinetics]For meat cleavers, what do you want to do with it?[/quote]
          [quote=Candy]Do you have particular uses in mind for the cleaver? [/quote]
          For the cleaver, my gf plans to use them to chop up the meat that I often buy in bulk. I will buy it in big quantities and then she will chop it up, put it in plastic bags, and then freeze it.

          [quote=Candy]For knife sharpening, I recommend using a stone if you are willing to learn.[/quote]
          She already knows how to use a stone. Is there a particular one that is the best according to what I posted above?

          [quote=Candy]Let's us know if you are looking for something specific, like stainless steel vs carbon steel, medium blade vs thin blade, flatter cutting edge vs curvier edge...etc.[/quote]
          Whatever is the ‘best’ all-round is what I would like.

          [quote=Candy]Instead of a cleaver, how about a Nikiri? [/quote]
          I am not sure, she told me to get a ‘cleaver’...

          So, I guess for the cleaver it is:
          - Dexter-Russell heavy meat cleaver

          For the 8-inch knife, it will be:
          - Tojiro DP Chef's knife

          Are both of these online companies reliable with good customer service like Amazon?

          2 Replies
          1. re: bloodboy

            <For the cleaver, my gf plans to use them to chop up the meat that I often buy in bulk. I will buy it in big quantities and then she will chop it up, put it in plastic bags, and then freeze it. >

            For chopping up MEAT, you don't need a meat cleaver. If you need to chop through bones, like chicken bones or pork bones, then you will need a meat cleaver.

            <She already knows how to use a stone. Is there a particular one that is the best according to what I posted above?>

            For normal knives, an oil stone or a water stone will work. For higher end knives like Tojiro DP or Shun Classical or Hencke; Miyabi, the waterstones are much better.

            <Whatever is the ‘best’ all-round is what I would like.>

            Typically speaking, stainless steel is easier to handle and to take care, but carbon steel can achieve and maintain a much sharper edge than stainless steel -- given the same price point.

            <I am not sure, she told me to get a ‘cleaver’...>

            A Nakiri can substitute for a Chinese thin blade cleaver, but not a meat cleaver.

            <So, I guess for the cleaver it is:
            - Dexter-Russell heavy meat cleaver>

            If you really need to chop through bones. Are you sure about that? For just cutting meat (without bones), it is not what you want.

            <Are both of these online companies reliable with good customer service like Amazon?>

            I have bought from Katom and from Chefknivestogo. Chefknivestogo have excellent customer service, you can even call ahead o ask for advice like you are doing here. For Katom, the price is always good, but there can be back-order -- e.g. you may not get your knives right away. Nonetheless, friendly service.

            Back to your original point about cleaver, if all you want is to cut boneless meat, then I would get one classical Chef's knife like a Wusthof or a Henckels, and then a thinner sharper Chef's knife like the Tojiro DP.

            1. re: bloodboy

              "For the cleaver, my gf plans to use them to chop up the meat that I often buy in bulk. I will buy it in big quantities and then she will chop it up, put it in plastic bags, and then freeze it.

              Look into boning and breaking knives. A 8-12" cimeter or butcher would work.
              I use a 10" cimeter for whole pork loins making pork chops.

              Look at all the blades Dexter makes for meat processing. There are many more shapes than cleavers.

              http://www.dexter1818.com/Processing_...

              FWIW Forschner is the most common meat processing brand.

              When cutting large hunks of meat the upturned tips of cimeter, butchers and various boning knives can outshine a chef knife.

              Jim

            2. You posted this on another board and I said that cleavers aren't used that much. You are better off spending your money on the very useful and versatile 8 inch chefs knife.

              Try them out and choose one that fits your hand and feels comfortable.

              Then hit a kitchen supply store and buy a cheapo cleaver

              Your girlfriend would probably be much better off using the 8 inch chef's knife for her task unless she just wants to hack the crap out of the meat.