New Good Knives (or old)
- chezron May 24, 2014 11:08 PM
I want good knives that cut peppers, tomatoes, and paper. I want them to cut all of the time. Please suggest knives that are not plastic. I want metal and wood. I really do not want anything hi-tech. I want basic good knives that work.
What's your budget?
My favorite knives that would fit your description are Kiwi brand knives (and I would recommend them even to people who are willing to spend $20-30 on a knife), but obviously if you have a $100 budget per knife, you can get something much nicer.
What sort of sharpening system do you have in place? I've found the sharpening system, cleaning, and general treatment of my knives is really the most important thing.
Does your title mean you are debating between getting new knives vs keeping your old ones? Your old ones may be fine. You can probably fix your current problem by sharpening them.
If you know you want new knives, can you give us some preference? You have told us that you want knives that made (presumably) metal blade and wood handle, right? Are you looking for Western Chef's knives? Chinese cleavers? Japanese nakiri? What length do you want? 6 inch, 8 inch or 10 inch? Carbon steel or stainless steel?
Assuming you are looking for a Western Chef's knife with a metal blade and a wood handle, then I like to recommend these following few:
(1) Dexter Russell Traditional 8" Cook's knife
(2) Victorinox Rosewood 8" Chef's knife
(3) Tojiro DP 8.2" Gyuto knife:
(here the handle is composite wood)
For tomatoes and other softer foods you cannot beat the Kyocera micro serrated ceramic knives. They are not expensive and do a superior job than other knives do not with soft foods. If for some reason the knife gets dull you can send it back to them in Calif. and they will either sharpen them or send you a new one on their dime.
I have a mixture of knives purchased with certain tasks. I have Shuns, Wusthoff, old Gerber, Henckels etc.
You may want to be clearer about the problems you are having. All Knives do cut all of the Time, they may not do it well if they are not maintained and are used for cutting Paper.
Many old knives can be found but years of use and abuse can leave them needing serious work. Most common are old Chicago Cutlery.
Chems link was good for the Dexter and Forschner. Dexter has some others on that KaTom site such as the Green River series with walnut handles and the Connoisseur line which is made with a laminated rosewood to have the wood look but without the wood weaknesses of drying out after repeated washings.
R Murphy makes wood handled knives.....Check out the cheap stuff in clearance and discontinued items.
Lamson also makes some wood handles blades
F Dick makes a wood handled line also..
For tomatoes I want a small cheap serrated paring knife. Found on the homegoods aisle at the grocery store.Many Chowhounds will disagree...just my personal preference.
Paper? That's what scissors are for. If you need a cleaner edge and more precision go X acto and get a cutting mat.
On to your peppers (and other veggies)... this is where you get into the big knife-fight. I've been happy with mid-range Wusthof and some old inherited Japanese knives.
The key for me has been honing/sharpening often.
And not worrying about it too much.
The best thing is to eat well.
Not really sure why I said the knife should cut paper. Anyway, I guess I wanted to know some good knives that stay sharp and cut tomatoes without squishing them. I am having a visceral reaction to synthetic materials and I hope there are great knives still made with just metal and wood. I cook mostly main dish type meals, meats, fish, and salads. I like to experiment with dishes from other countries: Mexico, India, China, and Morocco.
<I wanted to know some good knives that stay sharp and cut tomatoes without squishing them>
Most knives have no trouble cutting tomatoes without squishing them -- as long as you keep them sharp. Some will retain sharpness a bit longer than others.
You probably should give as a bit more information. You have mentioned a few things such as wood handle and metal blade, but you have not mentioned the length of the knife, the style of the knife and the upper limit price range of your knife.
A $10 Rada knife, or a $10 Kiwi knife, or a $25 Victorinox can very easily cut tomatoes or any soft foodstuffs, cut paper to ribbons, or shave hair cleanly off your arm... if you keep them sharp. Though there are some knives that have a hard time taking a great edge regardless of how you sharpen them, by and large your cutting performance is less limited by which knife you have than by how and how well you sharpen it. People resort to serrated knives for things like tomatoes mainly because they don't require skillful maintenance to keep them sharp enough to do the job cleanly and easily.
So if you want to have a straight edge knife that will perform very well, you should perhaps focus less on which knives you buy and focus more on how you plan to sharpen them.
Here is a link to a comparison of various sharpening methods I wrote a little while ago:
Offhand from reading your posts, it sounds to me like you would benefit from sticking to sharpening methods that I scored as a 4 or above in terms of performance, in order to achieve an optimally sharp edge.
I am a fan of Thiers Issard carbon steel knives. You can read about them and buy them from a The Best Things. I have one of the Nogent style and find it a little lighter and more nimble than the riveted full tang ones. They are quite easy to sharpen, about twice a year. Hone with a couple of swipes on a smooth steel with each use. They are the antithesis of high tech. Many of them are made from forgings dating back, allegedly, to the forties.
Basic? Kiwi or Kom Kom brand, made in Thailand. You can find virtually every model they make (they're both by the same company, Kom Kom slightly fancier than Kiwi) for under $10 or $15 each. Cost cheap and look cheap, but cut like a million dollars and resharpen easily. Look online or visit a few Asian stores near you. Best prices are in your local stores, but they're not expensive anywhere.