Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Kitchen Knives: Preferences, Tips, General Care


mamster
 Share

Recommended Posts

I was on Bob Kramer's website today and noticed a link to these: Shun Bob Kramer Series Chef's Knife.

From the description:

Each knife is meticulously crafted by 150 expert artisans to achieve the precise heft, balance and shape of Bob Kramer’s original design. 3 mm steel blades are comprised of an SG2 core (64-66HRC) clad with true pattern-welded nickel and stainless steel Damascus for a beautiful, razor-sharp and lasting edge.

They look stunning, and much as I'd love to own a Kramer original, these have a strong appeal both in easy availability and the SG2 core. Has anyone seen one of these in person, or know anything about them?

ETA: At $340 they are far cheaper than a "true" Damascus blade made by Kramer himself, and more inline with what he charges for his standard carbon-steel blades. A hell of a lot of money for a knife, but not bad for a piece of functional sculpture.

Edited by Chris Hennes (log)

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Has anyone seen one of these in person, or know anything about them?

Yes and yes. What would you like to know?

How obvious is it that they are replicas? I assume at that price they are still incredibly good knives, but I'd hate to order one and find out it looks or feels like a cheap knock-off. Any feelings on how they compare to the "real deal"? My hope is that Kramer would not let Shun put his name on them if they weren't awesome, but you never know...

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Chris, this is in no way bashing the knife as I'm sure it's a great knife to use. I've heard several people say that Kramer's big-bellied profile is awesome in actual use. But there are also plenty others that would not like that kind of a knife as it's much more taller than what they use. That's just the profile issue. The finish issue can also sway people in either direction when looking at it in person. It has a chrome appearance to it very much like the Sakon Damask line of knives. Many people including myslef do not like this bright, shiney, mirror look to it. I bought a Sakon gyuto and returned it the same day I received it. I did not like the look at all. The pictures made it look very much like a Hattori KD finish. The pictures were 100% deceiving. While certainly the pattern on these Shun's is very much like Kramer's knives they can't really be compared to his true damascus knives because they have a totally different appearance.

If you can, I'd suggest going to the store and looking at them yourself. With all the makers and lines of knives going through worldwide price increases, $340 is not at all that expensive when you look at other high-end knives. Just don't try to convince yourself that these are true damascus replica's as they are not. They are a replica of Kramer's typical damascus pattern and knife profile (big bellied) in a clad stainless knife. Some people who saw them at the knife show in Atlanta where these knives were unveiled absolutely loved them. I personally would never own one due to the chrome-like finish and the taller profile. They do have that "ooh" factor going for them because there's nothing else like it on the market.

Edited by Octaveman (log)

My Photography: Bob Worthington Photography

 

My music: Coronado Big Band
 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just don't try to convince yourself that these are true damascus replica's as they are not.  They are a replica of Kramer's typical damascus pattern and knife profile (big bellied) in a clad stainless knife.

I view this as one of the strengths of these knives: I love the look of Kramer's Damascus knives, but I am worried my ability to care for the steel he uses. I would far prefer a knife with a more advanced steel: I am not particularly well-versed in steel types, but from what I gather, the SG2 core these use is comparable to a VG-10 steel (although the SG2 is a sintered product).

You are right about the profile, though of course that will be a personal decision. I'm not sure even using one for a few minutes in a store will make up my mind on this matter. It generally takes me a little while of working with a new knife to develop a "feel" for it, and my initial reaction isn't always long-lived :hmmm:.

Thanks for the warning about the appearance, too: I guess I'll have to hunt one down in person.

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the warning about the appearance, too: I guess I'll have to hunt one down in person.

Yeah, pretty much. When I opened the box to the Sakon with the same type of chrome finish I just hated it and was an immediate reaction. I agree that it's tough to come to any reasonable long-term conclusion about a knife during the 10 minutes you try it out in the store. The steel is not like VG-10. It's much tougher and being hardened to 64-66? That's super hard and since it's a new knife I haven't heard anything yet on the chipping front. I dunno, I don't think this knife is good for the public in general. Maybe for people who are more aware but I have this feeling it's going to be a high-maintenance knife. Just a guess though. be sure to report back when you get a chance to check them out. I will go on record saying that bread knife sure looks bitchin. For the cost though, I'd rather own a Franz Gude.

Edited by Octaveman (log)

My Photography: Bob Worthington Photography

 

My music: Coronado Big Band
 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've seen and held the new Kramers. As Octaveman says, you either like the look or you don't, but I'd encourage you to actually find one and look & feel it. The first pic I saw on Chad Ward's article made it look really shiny (flash?) but it wasn't as much in real life. Definitely not like one of his real damascus, a bit more like a Hattori KD with a larger and more regular pattern. I didn't cut with it but they have the same feel as Kramer's regular knives, which is second to none for me. And the bread knife is a real beauty, it also looks like it would be one dynamite utensil.

I have a couple of other SG2 knives and they are a bit more labour intensive to keep sharp but once they're there are SHARP. My doctor even commented on it recently as he stitched me up, said the cut was "positively surgical" (admission of sloppy technique...or stupidity, do you have to look at the cat when you talk to her..java script:add_smilie(%22:blush:%22).).

Vaughan :blush:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Forschner/Victorinox knives are very good and are used by many food service professionals. The benefits of more expensive knives are marginal, though if you use a knife a lot they begin to matter.<p>Even putting these cheaper knives aside, you can get a very good drop-forged German knife in the 8" size for less than โ if you don't need it to say Wusthof or Henckels on it. Zabar's for example has a line of knives that come from Solingen and are pretty close to the expensive German brands in quality, and the 8" costs ู.98.<p>I use only two knives on a regular basis: A Wusthof Classic 10" Chef's Knife and 3.5" Chef's Paring Knife. I even use the 10" for bread -- I have little use for serrated knives as they tear rather than cut. After working with the 10" knife for a few years now, I find that when I pick up an 8" it doesn't feel sufficient for serious cutting.

For a commercial cook, The Forschner's edge on a Forged Wusthoff/Henckel is in part that it's relatively light,quick,thin and the Rosewood handle I favor is very comfortable for an all-day knife.

I can't be slowed up by a too heavy blade or a boxy handle. The thinner Forschner blade is also a bit harder and can take a surprisingly steep edge. If you use a compound bevel-it holds up well

Mac's original line took the idea further,even thinner-harder,but they never had a 10"

The higher end Macs are great..but they are pretty close to the price of a Shun.

At home,my board is 1/4 the size of the boards at work and my trusty 10" is overkill.

in a pro kitchen, however,everyone tends to use a 10" mostly. I've used a 430-10 Forschner for 30 years so nw it feels like part of me. I have a Tojiro DP on the way though and expect it takes part of the Forschner's role.

My lightweight is a Kai-Kershaw 7700 clad 7" i got 1/2 price and it's an amazing little razor of a knife. It has all metal construction with a remarkably ergonomic handle. The handle is offset-like a chef's but the blade isn't wide and is very thin. It has a core of VG7 steel, similar to VG 10 but without the cobalt. However being so light + thin it's very effortless to use. Kai didn't stick to the norm,sort of merged Chefs,Nakiri, Petty to do a great light duty knife. I may find something better...but at more than 3X what I paid.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

My pro-knife-selling brother gave a Forschner 6" to me as I went into the Peace Corps 6 years ago. It was super sweet but way too light and petite for my big hands. But as I had a small kitchen, with limited work space.... and it served me very well. Going to invest in Wusthof grand prix 2 now.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

I've been looking through the Korin knife catalog for a slicing knife. I'm used to using an 8 inch chefs knife but i was looking to find something that would give me a little more control. I've noticed a few chefs using slicing knives for all sorts of work and figured I would give it a try. Any recommendations? And what exactly is the difference between a Sujihiki knife and a Slicer?

My food and ideas CookDiegoCook

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sujihiki is a Japanese name for a slicer. Pretty much the same thing. Depending on preference though there are slicers with rounded tips and pointy tips. The ones with rounded tips are often called carving knives and the ones with pointy tips are called slicers. Unless I go looking around the only slicers that I can recall that have a rounded tip are Shun and Ryusen Blazen below at EE.com. I personally like the pointy tip to finish off the slice if needed.

Sujihiki's at EE.com

I wouldn't spend extra for the dimples unless you want them. If that's the case I'd only recommend Glestain. Here are some recommendations for some awesome Sujihiki's that are thin thin thin (less drag).

Kikuichi Elite carbon steel sujihiki $90 for 240mm Probably one of the best slicers out there for the money.

Kikuichi Stainless Steel Excellent.

Tojiro DP at Korin is a good value in stainless which you've probably already seen.

Hattori FH is a great high-end knife too if it fits your budget. Three different sizes.

Hiromoto AS is also a fantastic slicer with Super Blue carbon steel core surround with stainless.

Fujiwara FKH is all carbon and a great value too.

I could most definitely go on but chances are most Sujihiki's are pretty good. The one's above are just brands that I've used including a few sujihiki's. Did you have a particular brand you wanted info on?

My Photography: Bob Worthington Photography

 

My music: Coronado Big Band
 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Tojiro DP at Korin is a good value in stainless which you've probably already seen.

Minor correction - Tojiro DP series are honwarikomi construction; they have a Swedish carbon core, stainless on the outside. Agreed that they are good value.

mexigaf, I'm not sure that using a sujihiki will give you "more control" in general use than your 8" chef's knife. For one thing, sujihiki usually start at 9.5", so it's going to be longer. For another, the blade is going to be thinner and more flexy than your chef's knife; great for slicing, but not nearly as durable for general use. If you're buying it for slicing, great, but I wouldn't recommend a sujihiki as a substitute for a chef's knife.

Hong Kong Dave

O que nao mata engorda.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Tojiro DP at Korin is a good value in stainless which you've probably already seen.

Minor correction - Tojiro DP series are honwarikomi construction; they have a Swedish carbon core, stainless on the outside. Agreed that they are good value.

mexigaf, I'm not sure that using a sujihiki will give you "more control" in general use than your 8" chef's knife. For one thing, sujihiki usually start at 9.5", so it's going to be longer. For another, the blade is going to be thinner and more flexy than your chef's knife; great for slicing, but not nearly as durable for general use. If you're buying it for slicing, great, but I wouldn't recommend a sujihiki as a substitute for a chef's knife.

Sorry I actually meant more control when it comes to slicing. Lately I've been using my chefs knife to slice delicate terrines and gelees and it just has way too much surface area which of course is detrimental to a delicate piece of food.

Thanks for the suggestions guys I think I'm going to splurge on the Hattori slicer.

My food and ideas CookDiegoCook

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The description of the DP that Korin uses is misleading. They say it's a carbon steel plate encased in stainless. Then further down they say it's high quality swedish carbon WITH 13% chromium added. That's now a stainless steel. The DP's core is a high carbon stainless and is Sandvik 19C27 I believe. The construction allows for a high hardness core laminated with a softer stainless for ease of sharpening.

My Photography: Bob Worthington Photography

 

My music: Coronado Big Band
 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

Hello all. I have finally upgraded my account after lurking off and on for several years and wanted some of your input on my issue.

I was blessed this Christmas with a lot of family members who not knowing exactly what to get me, knew I loved to cook, and got me WS gift cards. I have about $250 all told and am starting to covet a new chef's knife. I am a cooking enthusiast but am a lawyer by trade and cannot find the time to cook nightly (plus I somehow find a way to use 4 pots/pans and multiple spoons for a simple meal and leave it all for my wife to clean - which makes her rather get take out).

I have a set of Solingen knives that includes an 8" chef's knife which I have used since 1997. In looking over WS's knives and trying some out, I like the gyuto styled ones from Shun - the Classic and the Kaji. The Onion's handle was too bulky for my pinch grip although if I needed to stab something, this would be the knife I would choose. ;) I tried the Globals too but they didn't feel quite right. I know there may be better choices in Japanese knives but I can try these Shun's out and they would essentially be free or next to free.

That was a long way around to my questions. The only Shun classic they had was the 10" chef's and this knife looked more like a small sword than something I would use in the kitchen daily. If it is just that I am so used to the 8" that the 10" seems gigantic, what do those extra two inches get me in food prep to make it worth the switch?

The other Shun I liked was the Kaji. The differences between the two are the handle and the base metal for the blades. One is the VG10 (classic) and the other is SG2. Is the difference in the two significant enough to chose one over the other for the home cook? I plan on taking very good care of this knife when I get it. I just ordered An Edge in the Kitchen and plan on getting stones or a sharpening kit as well.

Thanks for any input.

Dylan

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The extra 2" gets you absolutely nothing. Its what feels comfortable for you. If you are used to an 8" I would recommend staying with an 8". If you want to go with the classic 8" then just click this link http://www.williams-sonoma.com/products/cu...-santoku-knives and use your gift card online.

As far as the Kajis and the different steels used I don't really know but someone who does should be along before too long. I can tell you that I have a Shun 8" Alton Brown Chef's Knife which has the VG10 and even though I am a big guy I have never found it too small or had any problems with the steel.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hello all.  I have finally upgraded my account after lurking off and on for several years and wanted some of your input on my issue.

I was blessed this Christmas with a lot of family members who not knowing exactly what to get me, knew I loved to cook, and got me WS gift cards.  I have about $250 all told and am starting to covet a new chef's knife.  I am a cooking enthusiast but am a lawyer by trade and cannot find the time to cook nightly (plus I somehow find a way to use 4 pots/pans and multiple spoons for a simple meal and leave it all for my wife to clean - which makes her rather get take out).

I have a set of Solingen knives that includes an 8" chef's knife which I have used since 1997.  In looking over WS's knives and trying some out, I like the gyuto styled ones  from Shun - the Classic and the Kaji.  The Onion's handle was too bulky for my pinch grip although if I needed to stab something, this would be the knife I would choose. ;)  I tried the Globals too but they didn't feel quite right.  I know there may be better choices in Japanese knives but I can try these Shun's out and they would essentially be free or next to free.

That was a long way around to my questions.  The only Shun classic they had was the 10" chef's and this knife looked more like a small sword than something I would use in the kitchen daily.  If it is just that I am so used to the 8" that the 10" seems gigantic, what do those extra two inches get me in food prep to make it worth the switch?

The other Shun I liked was the Kaji.  The differences between the two are the handle and the base metal for the blades.  One is the VG10 (classic) and the other is SG2.  Is the difference in the two significant enough to chose one over the other for the home cook?  I plan on taking very good care of this knife when I get it.  I just ordered An Edge in the Kitchen and plan on getting stones or a sharpening kit as well.

Thanks for any input.

Dylan

Not speaking specifically for or against the Shun or Solingen knives, I was always taught to use the largest chef's knife your hand can manage and to get comfortable with just a few knives rather than trying to get a knife for every situation (to allow you to achieve a mastery of those few knives). I think comfort with an 8" vs. 10" has a lot to do with the size of your hands. I've read people on eGullet who do most chopping with a 6" or 7" knife, but my hands are too big to ever make that comfortable.

I upgraded from an 8" to a 10" (Henckel) and even played with a 12" (which I now only use for presentation carving), but at this point I would not go back to 8". I find that large items (i.e. melons, large roasts, etc.) are that much easier with the 10" and once I got used to it I don't feel any lack of control compared to the 8". For chopping herbs and the like, I feel like I get more control with the 10". Other than my 10" chef's knife, I only use a 3" paring knife regularly. Once in a while I'll borrow my wife's santoku for fun and I'll use a break knife or boning knife at the appropriate time, but otherwise I pretty much do everything with those 2 knives.

"If the divine creator has taken pains to give us delicious and exquisite things to eat, the least we can do is prepare them well and serve them with ceremony."

~ Fernand Point

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's also worth remembering that the perceived size of a knife varies a lot with how you hold and use it and with the design of the blade. If you're accustomed to a pinch grip, a10" knife is not going to seem longer relative you your hand than an all-other-things-equal 8" knife being held by the handle. You can also hold two different 10" knives and one will seem (and be) larger than the other in all dimensions save for blade length. Also, whatever knife you're accustomed to using becomes your benchmark. I have used a 10" Wusthof for years, but I recently spent a few weeks using a 8" Sabatier as my primary knife on account of some sharpening experiments I was doing. When I went back to a 10" knife, it seemed huge. It took several days to readjust. As mentioned before, the advantage of a larger knife is that you can cut larger stuff more easily with it. The advantage of a smaller knife is that you can fake it more easily for paring-type tasks -- stuff where you're working mostly with the tip area of the knife.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 year later...

So as I understand it, there's two schools regarding kitchen knives: those who say you need the right tool for the job and those who say you can do anything with the chef's, paring and (sometimes) bread knives. I think I belong to the second category, at least when helping others with gentle suggestions ("You're seriously going to buy a Cutco 34 piece set? Were you dropped on your head as an infant?") but there's a couple of extra knives I use in the kitchen.

These are the knives I reach for when I don't reach for the aforementioned three:

Junky knife from the dollar store: The first kitchen knife I ever bought, back when I moved out from my parents' house well over a decade ago. It's shaped roughly like a chef's but never had nearly enough "belly" and was only 6" long to boot. These days it's nearly unrecognizable in shape, due to my grinding out nicks and chips from the edge over the years. It lost about 1/4" from the tip when I dropped it on the floor once and now sports a cool "tanto-style" profile. I keep it sharp but it won't hold an edge very long, which helps me practice my sharpening skills. This one lives in my knife block, and gets used for cutting cardboard and rope and by clumsy guests who want to help in the kitchen.

Swiss Army "Soldier": You know how you can go to someone's house for a BBQ, offer to help with the food prep and the sharpest thing they own is the chisel in the garage? A well-sharpened pocketknife can help! This one lives on my keyring. I like the Soldier model because its not so bulky it's uncomfortable to keep in my pocket all day, and Swiss Army knives are associated with benevolent things like the Boy Scouts and MacGuyver by non-knife people who might feel threatened by one of the more "tactical" folders.

Small chef's knife: I suppose this is a bit of a cheat because it's a chef's but still. I find the 10" chef's is just too unwieldy to finely mince small amounts of ingredients (such as garlic) so I use a 6" "Alton's Angles" Shun I got on sale. The angle on the handle makes the knife act as if it had a lot more "belly" than the shape of the blade by itself would, which I think helps a lot in quickly mincing things. I understand mezzalunas are made for this purpose and Messermeister makes a special knife for just this purpose as well.

Boning knife: I like to buy large bone-in cuts of meat for stirfries and stews and screwed things up enough times with the 10" chef's that I got a knife just for this purpose. It makes things far easier, with much less meat left on the bones.

So what do you guys use when you don't use a chef's, bread or paring knife?

This is my skillet. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My skillet is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it, as I must master my life. Without me my skillet is useless. Without my skillet, I am useless. I must season my skillet well. I will. Before God I swear this creed. My skillet and myself are the makers of my meal. We are the masters of our kitchen. So be it, until there are no ingredients, but dinner. Amen.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...