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Good knives

Hi Folks,

I seem to have a drawer full of knives (some expensive, some cheap) and yet I hate them all. I only have one knife that I seem to go back to (it's a ceramic knife) but I broke the tip off so now it's not as useful.

If anyone has some good recommendations on some knives I would appreciate it! Looking for possibly a set.

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  1. Best to narrow it down a bit by being more specific as to purpose. Everyone needs one good cook's knife, usually about eight inches long, and one paring knife. There are many variations in these as to shape, size, and materials, and of course many other types of knives. Pick the cook's knife first, as it is the most important. If it comes in a set, then you may find the set useful, but I wouldn't pick the set first and I don't expect a set to provide everything I want.

    Besides my cook's knife, I have a vegetable knife, a boning knife, a carving knife, and a utility knife, as well as a few paring knives and steak knives. A steel is essential.

    1. Here's my favorite chef's knife (Mac Pro):

      http://www.amazon.com/Mac-Knife-Profe...

      We also use these all the time (Victorinox 40604):

      http://www.amazon.com/Victorinox-4060...

      FYI - Victorinox makes a great chef's knife too.

      1 Reply
      1. re: jp_over

        Our steak knives are Victorinox. Fantastic!

      2. "I seem to have a drawer full of knives (some expensive, some cheap) and yet I hate them all."

        First off storing knives in a drawer is a real bad idea unless they are covered in a sleeve.

        What knives do you have and why do you hate those makes? If just dull, which everybody hates, that is easily fixed.

        For the typical American kitchen I suggest German knives just due to their ability to withstand abuse over Japanese blades and are easy to maintain with a honing steel.

        Japanese will cut better but are very specialized and really aren't for heavy duty tasks like splitting chickens. There are Japanese knives built for that but a typical gyuto isn't.

        Cutlery and More always has cool stuff in there clearance section.

        Jim

        3 Replies
        1. re: knifesavers

          20 plus years ago a I bought a set of Wusthof Classics and at the time of the purchase I was told were in the very high quality range of the mass produced German Knives and were better than Henckels. Was the salesman correct?

          They have done well buy me over the years and the Edge Pro I bought does a great job keeping them sharp.

          1. re: Tom34

            At the time wusthof classics were the standard bearer for good mass produced knives. They were better than henckels cheaper international line though henckels zwilling line was very similar and of the same quality. French knives - namely sabatiers - had their own aficionados as well.

            Since then Japanese knives have become more common, offering easier and more precise cutting and better edge retention at the expense of some extra fragility. Henckels has even produced some decent Japanese style knives while wusthof has mainly kept to their traditional design (though they do offer santokus, produced in a hybrid east west style).

            1. re: cowboyardee

              Not long ago I picked up a couple Tojiro DP's and they are definitely thinner, harder and sharper. Noticeably less effort to cut through things. They are my go to for precision cutting & thin slicing meats etc.

              For heavier work though and rocking I still reach for the Wusthof Classic Chefs. After 20 hard yrs the printing on the blade is gone from wiping but no blade chips or other damage. Kept in block since new.

              In both cases though the Edge Pro sharpener made them sharper than factory, very easy learning curve & and easy on the metal. Not cheap but definitely a precision tool that works 100% as advertised.

        2. I can give you a general recommendation. Victorinox or Dexter-Russell brand for a good solid reliable knife for ~$30-35, but I have a feeling that you will hate it sine you did say that you hate of your knives.

          For anything more specific, you will need to give us more specification. What do you want to see your next knife? What don't you like about your current knives? What is your price range? $100? $300? $500? Knives are personal tools. What is a great knife for me, may not be a great knife for you.

          <I seem to have a drawer full of knives (some expensive, some cheap) and yet I hate them all>

          Like you said, you have a lot of knives, but you hate most of them, so you definitely have a strong opinion/preference about knives. We just don't know.

          1. Since you have many knives but seem to prefer the ceramic one, I'm going to assume, it's because it's the only one that is still sharp. Since I don't know what brands and types of knives you currently have, beyond some expensive, I'm just going on the assumption that the expensive knives are dull. Ceramic stays sharp longer than the stainless steel from which most knives are made. There are a lot of good knife brands out there and you may very well have some of them, but none will stay sharp forever, and keeping them in a drawer, unless they are devided, will dull them in a NY minute. So will the dishwasher and throwing them into the sink with other items. I'll take a cheap sharp knife anyday to an expensive dull one.

            2 Replies
            1. re: mikie

              < will dull them in a NY minute>

              Didn't know this new term until you used it. Cool.

              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                I'm not sure of the exact number of seconds in NY minute, only that it goes much quicker than a regular minute. I do know that if you ask someone in NY to wait a minute, you get about 15 seconds ;)

            2. My guess is that you need a sharpener of some sort, and some kind of way to store your knives without dulling them (a block, a magnet, drawer inserts, etc).

              I could be wrong, but then I'd need more info about why you don't like your knives, what you have, etc.

              Sets are bad buys for most people. You pay more to buy extra knives that most people won't use. Better to spend your money on one or two knives that you know you'll use along with some sharpening supplies or professional sharpening to make them cut well.

              1. Most of the knives have a sheath; and most of them claim that the simple act of sliding them into that is all that is required to sharpen them.(for example. the wiltshire staysharp) However, I do not take a lot of interest in the knives - not going to lie. I have a few smaller pairing knives that are not too bad; but mostly what I am looking for is a chefs knife.

                The bigger knives are kept on a hanger on the inside of my cupboard. I have sharpened these - they are old knives. My grandfathers knives. However I might just be a terrible "knife sharpener" because I can't seem to find any uses for those knives.

                I have a sharpening rod; but again I don't really know what I'm doing. I also wasn't sure if some of my cheaper knives (particularly those with holes in the blade or indentations)

                6 Replies
                1. re: carriej22

                  I have a bunch of my grandfather's knives, he was a butcher and they are all boning knives, and carbon steal. Many of them are Dexgters. These are great for a butcher, but I use one rarely. I keep them because I remember being a kid and watching my grandfather in the butcher shop. A boning knife isn't what a cook needs. There are a number of good quality stainless knives available at reasonable prices that are both robust (something that seems would fit your needs) and cut well. Wusthof, Henckels, Messermeister, F. Dick, Victorinox, are a few where you can get an 8 or 10 inch chefs knife for $100 to $150. There are a number of other brands that are either more or less expensive depending on your budget and taste.

                  1. re: carriej22

                    <However I might just be a terrible "knife sharpener" because I can't seem to find any uses for those knives.>

                    If this is your main problem, then this is a "knife sharpening" question at heart, not a "buy new knives" question. Mike has pointed this earlier.

                    I definitely believe there are good knives and bad knives. However, most people are limited by their own knife skill and knife sharpening techniques instead of the knives themselves.

                    I will suggest that you buy some of your knives to a good local sharpener. Buy new expensive knives, which we are more than happy to help, is not going to help in the long run.

                    Knife sharpening by yourself is not hard, but you need to be willing to learn it and make mistakes, and more mistakes. While it is nothing like getting 4 year college degree, it is something take awhile to get good at.

                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                      Hey Chem,

                      My old Wusthof 3 1/2 paring knife has a belly from abusive carbide sharpeners of the past and a bent tip from meeting the ceramic floor point first.

                      Was looking at a new one, Wusthof Classic $29,99 vs Tojiro DP $39.99. The W/C has the more traditional German curved blade. The DP looks to have a perfectly flat blade. Have you used a paring knife with a perfectly flat blade?

                      I know I can get the DP razor sharp on the Edge Pro but I am not sure about that flat blade. The 4 1/2 inch DP utility at $44.99 is also a thought as it has a little more curve in the blade.

                      1. re: Tom34

                        <The W/C has the more traditional German curved blade. The DP looks to have a perfectly flat blade.>

                        Now that you mentioned it, I have also noticed it.

                        <Have you used a paring knife with a perfectly flat blade?>

                        Yes, my Dexter-Russell paring knife is a sheep's foot paring knife

                        http://www.foodservicewarehouse.com/d...

                        I am ok with a straight edge paring knife, but if I only get to have one, then I prefer a paring knife with a bit of curvature.

                        cowboyardee really likes his Dojo paring knife. What do you think?

                        http://www.chefknivestogo.com/dojokni...

                        There are other brands of course.

                        As you have said, the short utility knife of the Tojiro DP is 4.5" ($45), and it is curved:

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

                        **The 4" Tojiro DP Damascus Paring knife ($50 -- not that much more expensive) has a curved edge profile:

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

                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                          Thanks Chem..... I didn't see the 4" DP Damascus Paring knife with the more traditional curved blade. The $49.99 brings it into the free shipping category which kind of helps balance the extra cost. My concern with the DP 4.5" utility knife is that the blade is probably higher than the paring knife blade and would be harder to turn when fully inserted into something.

                          Those Dexter's really are a lot of knife for the $. I still have a lot of their old wooden handled filet knives from the 70's & 80's. Some have been ground down into bait knives.

                    2. re: carriej22

                      More directly: what do you have in terms of a chef knife, and is it currently dull? And if its dull, how exactly have you tried to sharpen it previously?

                      If you don't have a knife that functions as a chefs knife, then you should likely buy one.

                      If your chef knife is dull, I'd suggest you take it to a professional sharpener to see if that helps before buying a replacement.

                      Moving forward (whether you buy a new knife or not), you likely should probably change the way you maintain your knives... I'm just not quite clear on what you do currently. The 'sharpening sheaths' don't really work very well. A sharpening rod can be very useful for maintaining and extending the life of a fairly sharp edge, but they are nearly useless once a knife is genuinely dull. If you've sharpened your knives on whetstones and still had poor results, the problem could be your technique or your knives or both... I couldn't say from what you've told us.

                      If you want to learn how to sharpen well, we can give you pointers and instruction here. If you don't feel up to learning, that's fine also but I'd strongly recommend you find a good pro or else any future knife purchases are mostly just a waste of money.