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Jul 28, 2013 02:47 AM

Chef knife for home for novice

I'm looking for a decent knife for chopping and slicing onions, bell peppers, carrots, celery, garlic, ginger, etc. I have been using a 10 inch carving knife for this for about 30 years and after learning a little bit, I want to buy a decent knife for the job and learn how to use it. I'm 5 foot seven inches and 170 pounds if that helps. Would a 10 inch or 8 inch knife be more appropriate? After reading many of the discussions on knifes on this site, I'm now upgraded to a level of maybe novice:) I like the look of rosewood triple riveted handles, and would like the handle to not be too thick for crushing garlic and ginger on thinner 1/4" to 3/8" cutting boards. Price point may be around $50, which probably doesn't fall into the category of a good knife. I sharpen often (every other time of use on average) and enjoy a thinner blade as it seems to slice thru with less effort. I use inexpensive stones for sharpening and after reading, I really like the water stones as my stones require mineral oil or other light oil, and a fine water stone recommendation (and grit level) for frequent use would be really appreciated also. From my reading discussions and searching on the internet I'm thinking of the Forschner by Victorinox Rosewood 10" Chef's Knife from Bed Bad and Beyond which is about $40 after the 20% coupon. I do like the Japanese angle instead of the double and probably steeper angle of others since I sharpen often and think it may be easier to sharpen and slice with less effort, but I'm a novice so I may be wrong and most Japanese knifes are way out of my price range and out of my league and experience. For some humor and send a few goose bumps, my dad sharpens his fillet knife on his bench grinder - funny or what? I probably fall into the 90% category of a home cook and zero percent as a professional cook, but cooking good food instead of the processed pre-packaged stuff at the store makes home cooking extremely worth while for me. I also don't use a steel stick as I don't trust myself on the angle. Let me know if you need any more information, but your help would be greatly appreciated!

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  1. I'm still looking and reading and found this one: Tojiro DP 210mm Gyuto (F-808) at:
    and it's over budget at $79.95, but has VG-10 stainless steel center with the Japanese blade contour and I like the triple riveted handle. Since I'm really buying a kitchen knife for home use that I'm hoping to use for 80 percent of my chopping, slicing, dicing, etc. does it make sense to change my price range up to $80 for a fairly decent knife?

    2 Replies
    1. re: NewChow3

      <does it make sense to change my price range up to $80 for a fairly decent knife?>

      Tojiro DP is nice. I was going to also recommend Fujiwara FKM because it used to be at a lower price point, but that does not appear to be the case any more. I think $80 does appear a bit high for many people. Personally, I think it is a very good buy given the quality.

      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

        I really like the Toijiro DP and the steel used for the middle clad seems to be extremely good, but I agree that at twice the price it may have to wait as I'm spending money on raised bed's for my garden now.

    2. Granted, l am biased but l use a 8,10, and 12 inch chef's knife from Dexter for decades and still love them the most of my multi-hundred knives. If you are buying something to last a long time a bit more or less expensive should really not matter, these are not expensive.
      They are no longer available new but are easy to find used, as on eBay, l would get the 10' first and l doubt you would need any other unless for a person your size you have very, very little hands. The appropriate ebay search would be Dexter 48910, if you want larger blade use Dexter 49812. These knives have rosewood handles, full tangs, top of blade is @ 3/16 inch. l have been using them for presents for a long time. They will last generations.
      Possible negatives are they are soft carbon steel so they need sharpening often, any sharpener works great on them, also as wood handles and carbon steel, no dishwasher and fast hand drying after washing.

      10 Replies
      1. re: Delucacheesemonger

        Thanks Delucacheesemonger! I'll check those out. 12 inch for me would be too long but 8-10 seems pretty good. I only hand wash all knifes, so no worries on that, and sharpen often so these may be what I'm looking for. I also live in Colorado, so rust on carbon steel shouldn't be an issue. The big thing is just getting a chef knife for the dicing, slicing, and chopping as I've never had one and I found it's about the first type of knife one should have.

          1. re: Delucacheesemonger

            SHHHHHHH!!!!!!!! Don't let out the secret. ;)

            While I agree with you the condition they are often in is horrid. I have a 48912 that is still in work that had massive issues and a 48910 that was so rusted it may lose 2" off the tip due to deep pitting.

            A rosewood Victorinox is a better route not a better knife but respectable stainless and no 30+ years of neglect that you may find on an old carbon steel knife.

            FWIW one of my favorites in the block is an old Dexter 45A10H.


            1. re: knifesavers

              My use of the 45A10H has been sparse as the amount of steel is less as the top is quite thin, thus less weight, thus more work for me and less for the knife.

              1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                There is a 10" Dexter that is totally rusted and lookes like it was burried for many years on EBay for $39.95. I think that they may be great knifes, but also probably now have a vintage collectors value added on.

                1. re: NewChow3

                  There are two currently being bid on for @ 20 each, they generally go for 30-40. Got one for Cowboyardee for that range.
                  Hang in their and SNIPE them.

                  1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                    They are on my watch list but have 3-4 days to go. Is the Dexter Traditional 63689-10-PCP 10" Stain Free Cooks Knife with Wood Handle any good? There are several on ebay that are new.

              2. re: knifesavers

                I think the trick is to find one in good condition at a reasonabee price (under $40?). I'm 51 now and my knifes I bought 40 years ago ALL look great. I am a bit ashamed that I may have a dozen pocket/camping/hunting knifes and don't have a chef's knife. I was totally ignorant on their value for getting stuff cut up and I cook about 95% of what I eat. Thanks for your input!

            2. Personally, I would drop by my nearest restaurant supply store and pick up something like the 8" Forschner NSF line. It, or things very similar, are likely what was used to prepare your most recent excellent meal in a restaurant. They are decently balanced, hold an edge well, and made for commercial duty. Once you have used it for a while, you may want to try something else. I still use mine after 25 years, about half the time, among a collection of Wusthof, various Japanese knives, and a couple of old French knives.

              1 Reply
              1. re: akachochin

                Thanks akachochin! So I didn't know what the NSF was, but now I do. It seems to be about $5 less than the rosewood Forschner:

                I looked up the Dexter on Ebay and it goes for around $30 or more for a used one. I'm using a 40 year old carving knife now and have still have my first knife I bought in 2nd grade, so to me the knife will last more than a lifetime and it's something I will use pretty much every day. So the Forschner seems to be a better deal as the price is only about $10 more from what I can tell. So you would prefer an 8" over a 10" chef knife if you only had one knife? I also saw a new Wushtof 10" classic for about $77 on EBay.. It seems that to go above the Forschner is about double the price. For $5 more, I do like the rosewood better than the NSF, unless there is a difference in quality. I've been up all night looking at this stuff and it seems that a primary knife is way more complicated than I thought:

              2. Victorinox Forschner Fibrox are great knives for a very reasonable price. What size is best for you can only be determined by you. I really prefer shorter chef's knives and use my 5" and 6" Fibrox the most, although the 7 1/2" and my 8 and 10" Wusthofs come out for the larger vegetables such as cutting butternut squash and such items. If you learn how to sharpen your knives, you can get a lot of good use from a basic knife that will not break your budget.

                This is the opinion of a very dedicated home cook who makes most things from scratch, doesn't use a microwave, etc. I also have not sprung for an Asian knife so I may not know what I am missing, but the truth is, I am so happy with my Wusthof and Victorinox knives that I have not been compelled to try other stuff.

                2 Replies
                1. re: laraffinee

                  Thanks laraffinee. I don't want to go smaller than 8" for the chef knife, but if it's heavy enough the 8" may do fine. I did read that many chefs/cooks like a 240mm knife but I don't really know why. I realize the knife question is a bit of a can of worms as the topic is pretty broad, but I haven't seen many posts on this site for lower end or mid range knifes for the home and it's something I plan on using more than my coffee machine or TV. My friend also got rid of his microwave as he and his wife say it's healthier without it.

                  1. re: NewChow3

                    I never got a microwave because I can't stand how it affects the texture of food. There are all kinds of reports on the health effects of microwave cooking and I really don't know what is really true in that regard, but I do trust my taste buds and for me they nix microwaved food.

                2. No BRAND recommendations. A knife that is SHARP (and can be honed/sharpened) is key! I don't have any HIGH end knives, but they're all sharp... LESS chance of an accident than with a dull knife. Even found 3 Wolfgang Puck knives at a yard sale ($1 a piece) that have sharpened up nicely... thinking seller didn't know what to do with them once edge was gone?? I'm not an expert on sharpening, but have an electric sharpener that my dad bought that works well.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: kseiverd

                    I really agree on the sharpening. I do it often, probably because I don't have high end knifes and love it when they slice thru stuff just like a razor. From what I've heard it's even a good idea to sharpen really good knifes often since if you wait too long, the steel is so hard that they can become rather difficult to sharpen. I know someone that was really happy when he found a Wustof at Goodwill for $5. I didn't know what a Wustof was then, but I sure do now:)

                    1. re: NewChow3

                      Ditto. All my favorite knives are old, stamped, high carbon steel institutional knives that were handed down in the family. My 12" chef's knife belonged to an uncle who was a chief steward on United Fruit Company ships, making Banana/Passenger runs from Central America to NOLA back in the '30s. I do my own sharpening on a fine India oil stone and Japanese water stones. Have to go, will add mores later.