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Kitchen Knives: Preferences, Tips, General Care


mamster
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Btw, the handle is white, other than that, it's the same as the picture. It's been just over a month since I got this way overkill gadget, but I must say, I could never ever go back to the cheap stuff. One of these days I'm gonna chop my finger off. And it actually motivated me to do a little more cooking. Actually, I was embarrassed to admit, but the original purpose of the purchase was to chop up veggies and fruit for my bird, I rarely cook. Now look what I do .... 18774955703_0_SM.jpg :))

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15° is quite acute for a knife edge. Gives superb cutting performance, but the edge may degrade faster and require more frequent sharpening. Personally, I like a 15° edge especially if married to one of the modern "super steels" (e.g. S30V). Then you get everything, the cutting performance and edge holding.

I've heard that the Globals and Messermeister Elites come with 15° edges from the factory.

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My husband sharpens my knives with his Lansky Knife Sharpening Kit. He also uses it to sharpen his hunting knives. The kit has a little vise which holds the knife and holes on either side to keep the stone (they are mounted on a stick of sorts) at the angle you want. It works well for us and is almost foolproof for not messing up the angle-edge of your knives.

There is nothing worse than a dull knife.

I use my 8" chef knife for nearly everything.

Stop Family Violence

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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 --  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.

These are also my choices and I also use the 10" for bread. And also feel that the 8" no longer quite "cuts" it. Yesterday I was talking with a good customer and he brought up the Wusthof 8" Chefs and 3 1/2" parer I'd sent him, and said how much he liked the Chef's knife (he mentioned he even just liked to take it out and hold it because it had such nice balance.)

That's the way I felt when I got my first Wusthof 8", but I had to tell him I'd moved on to the 10". As I said, "You can do some serious work with the 10 inch."

I also put my 8" carving knife to work fairly often (nothing beats it for slicing and dicing salt pork among other things). Last year I gave Susie a set of Wusthof and when I'm at her place I've found that I really like the 4 1/2" utility knife.

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A number of years ago, I bought a ten inch long razor sharp push button knife in a Paris shop. It has a bone handle and the blade flies out of the handle at amazing speed and locks open. I love to bring this to the table and slice cheese and bread, watching people's reactions as this relic of my greaser days pops open with a resounding "thwack."

Another variation I bought in Italy has an eight inch blade emerge directly out of the handle, stiletto fashion. It makes for great theater cutting pears and apples at the picnic table.

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Hullo. I'm new here (I'm yet another who was brought in by the Washington Post article), but I thought I'd leap into this thread since I'm something of a knife nut.

I'm a home cook who has been cooking seriously for a few years now, and my favorite knives are an 11" chef's knife from F. Dick and a ~10" (I think it's actually 9.25" or so) carbon steel knife made by Sabatier 69.

The Dick is a good, solid, German knife with a deep belly, though less curvature than a Wusthof. The Sabatier is lighter, thinner, and more triangular; I tend to use it for smaller jobs and when I need precision more than brute force. Because it's old-fashioned carbon steel, the Sabatier is wonderfully easy to sharpen and keep sharp, though I do have to be extra special careful not to let it rust.

In addition to these, I also used a number of cheap paring knives, and a couple of 5"-6" boning knives from Forschner, since I cut up poultry with alarming regularity.

Thank you all for the discussion. I like it here.

A jumped-up pantry boy who never knew his place.

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I have a set of steel (not stainless) Sabatiers that I love, especially my chef's knofe, which is roughly the size of a scimitar. They edge goes quickly, but it comes back quickly, too -- a minute on the whetstone and finishing with an electric sharpener. They stain easily and weigh a ton, I think that's part of why I like them: they make you feel like a throwback to the days before somebody like Nigella Lawson could become famous. Plus, you can practically use the chef's knife as a cleaver, cutting up duck carcasses and the like with no damage to the blade.

That being said, I use my wife's 8" global for a lot of little stuff these day. Feel light, works fast, cleans easy.

She in turn, likes my son's Wusthoff, for the feel and heft (though smaler and lighter than mine) and the curve of the blade.

Does that help?

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Does anyone else have experience with Mundial knives? I picked up the starter set shown below about 7 years ago:

5000-3.jpg

There's a 4" paring, 6" utility & 8" chef's. When I brought them home they weren't that sharp but two years ago I ran them through a Chef's Choice sharpener and fell in love with them. They hold their edge pretty well but it's getting to the point to sharpen again. I steall them before every use and I can easily cut through poultry bones and fresh meat. The 8" chef's weighs about 8 oz and I can get a nice rocking motion on it.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hello All,

I'm new to egullet, but figured I might as well jump right in. I am a college student with a love for cooking. After cutting myself twice with the crappy knives in my house, I have decided I can afford to spring for my own set. I am still deciding between Global and Wusthof and need to go to a store to try them out. (Right now I'm leaning towards Wusthof's Grand Prix line).

Anyway, my question is not about which brand - clearly a personal choice - but about what types of knives I need. Here's what I am currently planning to get.

8" Chef's Knife

6.5" Santoku Knife (I like this shape for chopping vegetables)

7"-8" offset bread knife (both Wusthof and F. Dick make stamped models for about $30, and Wusthof also makes a forged model but it's expensive and I can't find a good deal)

6"-8" filet knife (I am used to a flexible boning knife shape for a filet knife, but Wusthof filet knives aren't tapered like a boning kinfe...Wushof also make a very expensive 7" "Culi-Prix" filet knife, but this may be over kill...clearly I need the most guidence on this front.)

3"-4" Paring knife

Sharpening steel (I plan on sending my knives out to get sharpened, hopefully I can find a reputable source)

So, please advise me on my knife selections. I welcome and appreciate all comments.

Thanks,

Eric

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Welcome, EJ. :biggrin: I'm a knife junky, but that actually sounds like a reasonable list to me. I don't do much boning or filleting, so I can't comment on that one. But you might see which feels better to you, the 8" or maybe 10" chef knife. I prefer a 10" for the extra heft and weight, for it to do more of the work for me. :wink:

Just saw that Matt got in first. He is, of course, right.

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All my knives, and I have too many are either German Wuesthof, Henkel or Dick, a few Sabbatier and a Chinese cleaver no name brand.

But believe it or not my Bread knife is Chicago Cutlery BT10, meaning it's 10 inch long well serrated and ever lasting. Around $28.00 at K-Mart. You will need a longer than 8 inch bread knife as it is important to do the proper long stroke 'sawing' motion to slice

Peter
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I used a stone up until last year, when I switched to the Spyderco Sharpener. This consists of medium and fine ceramic rods that can be mounted in the base for 15 or 20 degree angles. They say 15 degree to re-profile an edge and 20 degree for most blades routinely. That seems to work well on my Henkels (3" pairing, 6" unility, and 8" Chef) knives that I have had for almost 20 years. It is a breeze to hold a consistent angle on both sides of the blade with this set up --- much easier than with a stone. The Spyderco sharpener comes with a helpful video, as well as a clear printed manual. About $45. (For knives that need more serious re-profiling, diamond rods are available as an add-on for an additional $40 or so, but I have not needed them.) For home use, I hone with a steel each time I use a knife, and use the Spyderco about once every month or two.

I also have a Wusthof pairing knife that I like better than the Henkels. If I were buying new knives today, the Wusthofs would win out.

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wellcome EJRothman!

you're right, everyone is his own expert when it comes to knife brand, 'long as it's a decent quality. you might consider carbon steel, though, as it tends to sharpen better.

but just a bit of advice, most of it learned from e-gullet:

"8" Chef's Knife": - make that 10" or make do with your

"6.5" Santoku Knife (I like this shape for chopping vegetables)," only larger.

"7"-8" offset bread knife (both Wusthof and F. Dick make stamped models for about $30, and Wusthof also makes a forged model but it's expensive and I can't find a good deal)." - do check out the stamped forschner/victorinox, wood handle. they are formidable.

"6"-8" filet knife (I am used to a flexible boning knife shape for a filet knife, but Wusthof filet knives aren't tapered like a boning kinfe...Wusthof also make a very expensive 7" "Culi-Prix" filet knife, but this may be over kill...clearly I need the most guidence on this front.)." - i have lived to regret thet i chosed a 6". make that 8".

"3"-4" Paring knife" - surprise: make that a cheap stamped one, or rather, 2, one of them beak shape (for peeling etc.)

Sharpening steel (I plan on sending my knives out to get sharpened, hopefully I can find a reputable source): - or perhaps a stone. or the spyderco set. once you've learned it, it's much safer than having someone else make a mess of your fine tools.

what about a cleaver?

christianh@geol.ku.dk. just in case.

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Anyway, my question is not about which brand - clearly a personal choice - but about what types of knives I need. Here's what I am currently planning to get.

8" Chef's Knife

6.5" Santoku Knife (I like this shape for chopping vegetables)

7"-8" offset bread knife (both Wusthof and F. Dick make stamped models for about $30, and Wusthof also makes a forged model but it's expensive and I can't find a good deal)

6"-8" filet knife (I am used to a flexible boning knife shape for a filet knife, but Wusthof filet knives aren't tapered like a boning kinfe...Wushof also make a very expensive 7" "Culi-Prix" filet knife, but this may be over kill...clearly I need the most guidence on this front.)

3"-4" Paring knife

Sharpening steel (I plan on sending my knives out to get sharpened, hopefully I can find a reputable source)

I echo much of oraklet's advice, but suggest you look into buying Forschner's stamped filet or boning knives as well. They have a huge selection of shapes and sizes, and they cost far less than a forged knife. gourmetcutlery.com and knifemerchant.com seem to offer the biggest selections and the best prices. (For my part, I own two boning knives rather than filet knives: one 6" and stiff, and one 5" and bendy.)

Ditto for the bread knife and the paring knife; I'd go with Forschner for both. Get the longest bread knife you can find (cutting 9" boules with an 8" knife sucks), and buy several cheap parers -- it's always good to have a couple at hand.

Additionally, you might want to look into buying a carving knife, if you plan to slice roasts, carve chickens, or the like, but that can wait.

Good luck!

A jumped-up pantry boy who never knew his place.

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Thanks to all for your imput...gives me some interesting things to consider.

About the spyderco sharpening system - I looked it up online and while I found a site that had a little video demonstration, I'm still not quite sure how it works...it seems remeniscent of a hoing steel motion...can someone explain the difference?

Thanks,

Eric

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About the spyderco sharpening system - I looked it up online and while I found a site that had a little video demonstration, I'm still not quite sure how it works...it seems remeniscent of a hoing steel motion...can someone explain the difference?

I've never used the Spyderco system, but as I understand it, it helps steady your knife as it grinds a new edge against a stone. Steeling isn't grinding a new edge so much as it is smoothing and realigning the edge you have.

Others may be able to make this more plain. I'm not an expert, I've just been reading a lot of what the experts have to say on this subject. :cool:

A jumped-up pantry boy who never knew his place.

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The Spyderco is simple enough to use. The Spyderco sits on the table in front of you with two sharpening rods inserted into the base at a fixed angle (15 or 20 degree depending on what you are doing), I.E. they are in a V-shape. Two metal rods are inserted to the left of the ceramic rods - these keep your fingers intact, unless you are trying really, really, really hard to cut yourself. You run your knife blade from butt to tip across the ceramic rod on your left, and then the one on the right, holding the blade vertically. (That's the brief version - you do this many times with each set of rods - medium and fine.) And that is the genius of the system --- it is much easier to maintain a consistent angle by holding a knife vertically, than it is horizontally on a stone. All the details are in the manual and the video...and you can sharpen everything imaginable...serrated knives, tools, scissors, etc. I have a sharp vegetable peeler and finger nail clippers for the first time ever. Hope that helps.

Edited by Richard Kilgore (log)
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Sounds like the spyderco is the way to go for sharpening needs. One other note - it seems most people agree that cheaper stamped paring knives are a better value than a more expensive forged one (this is good for me since I have a set of three Wusthof Silver Point paring knives). What's the deal with sharpening/honing stamped knives...can this be done or should they be replaced when dull?

Thanks,

Eric

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As far as knife length goes, have you ever seen that Seinfeld episode with the woman with "man hands"?  I'm the opposite:  a tall man with little hands.  The 10" knife feels unwieldy.

I love my Henckels... I've got two... One 10" chef's knife that sees little use (it was a gift, and the person thought that because I'm a big guy I'd want a big knife. This one is a bit too big!), and one 6" chef's knife that I use almost every day. They're the four-star series, and I like them very much.

-drew

www.drewvogel.com

"Now I'll tell you what, there's never been a baby born, at least never one come into the Firehouse, who won't stop fussing if you stick a cherry in its face." -- Jack McDavid, Jack's Firehouse restaurant

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