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Kitchen Knives - Page 9

post #121 of 430
Quote:
Originally Posted by iammatt View Post
OK, my .02, as I said above, is that in the hands of somebody who both knows how to steel and use a knife, the most effective tool is a soft carbon, forged French chef's knife.

Well, as I've said before, it depends on (1.) the task and (2.) the cook's work habits. I have and use both, and I like them, but I generally don't interchange them. It depends on the job.

Quote:
As for shape, a French knife is preferable to a German knife because the tip is easier to use for fine cutting. A German shape knife is great for rocking, but is relatively useless for something like brunoise or even julienne.

I agree with the comment about the tip and fine control (although Henckels does have a finer tip and less sweep just for this purpose, which is one reason I really like their chef's knives). However, the way I julienne something is much easier to do with a full-bellied German knife (my Wusthoff chef's knife) than anything else, as I get a good rocking motion back and forth. So it all depends on how one cuts.
post #122 of 430
I was a chef for 10 years and have taught cooking for the last 14 at a small college in upstate NY (not the CIA). I would agree with Iammatt that a soft carbon French knife is your best bet because it can be easily sharpened. Harder steels are a bitch to sharpen and I almost always find that people with "decent" knives never have them sharp enough to be effective. Get a knife magnet and hang your knives up. Putting them in a drawer will dull them (unless you have covers) I always carry my knives with me when I travel/visit. I don't fly with them, but I do keep them in my car.

As for brands and the like: I don't really think it matters all that much. I often tell incoming culinary students that I'm not a mechanic and even if I went out and bought some great tools; I still wouldn't be able to change my transmission. Sharp is good, dull is bad.

Most experienced chefs I worked with never really used those one-sided japanese knives or the those wavy design ones (not even sure what they're called). They are too expensive to possibly ruin or have stolen. They often have those knives, but only break them out for special occasions. I've probably seen a decent amount Globals, but I don't care for the grip myself

My personal favorite is Dexter Connoiseur. I often recommend Chicago Cutlery to people who ask for recomendations as they are available at Wal-Mart. Again, sharp is good, dull is bad.
post #123 of 430
Is anyone else a fan of the larger Chroma's? http://www.amazon.com/Chroma-Porsche.../dp/B00062KOUI

I've found them to be very comfortable, even after long periods of prep work. I don't care for their small knives though, which the unique handles seem a bit pointless on.
post #124 of 430
All of my points still stand.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Teacher View Post
No, that's not right. First, it's called a steel; hone is the verb. Second, the coarseness has nothing to do with it. It's how hard the steel is. A steel must be a few degrees Rockwell harder than the edge it is honing or it won't work. The only time a steel need be basically smooth is when it is used for a card scraper.
Thank you for the English lesson, everything else I wrote is still correct. Coarse or even medium steels that come with most german knife sets will cause micro-serrations to be formed on the knife when used with a heavy hand. It's like taking a coarse file to your knife. After spending the effort polishing the edge of my knives on progressively finer stones, I certainly would not want to serrate and weaken the edge with a coarse steel. A smooth steel will gently straighten the edge, while a ceramic honing rod will remove some weaked metal from the edge while pushing it back into alignment. "When a typical German knife encounters a kitchen counter, a bone or something else hard it tends to roll it's edge."
Quote:
Originally Posted by Teacher View Post
This happens to all steel edges, not just German ones. That's what the steel is for.
Just like I said, harder steel tends to chip instead of rolling. "Japanese made western style knives are lighter, have a thinner edge profile, made with better, higher carbon content steel, and are hardened to a higher RC number for superior edge retention."
Quote:
Originally Posted by Teacher View Post
Uh...no. It is certainly not better; it is different. Nowadays, it is not always higher in carbon, but often chromium and/or molybdenum. (Japanese chisel edges, on the other hand, are higher in carbon.) Besides, as I've brought up more than once, higher carbon content always has one glaringly negative side effect: brittle edges. That's why modern Western edge steels actually have lower carbon contents than edge steels of old. And yes, it is hardened more, but your use of the word "superior" needs qualification. If you mean that it it will take more soft-use wear and tear, then yes, it is superior. If you are talking about hard abuse, however, it is most definitely inferior to Western steels, which are far less brittle.
I was expecting you to pick nits with my "better" comment. They are better for the type of knives that are designed to offer maximum cutting performance. They are better because they can take a thinner, more acute edge and keep it. They are better because they often use steels that are designed from the ground up as knife steels by the manufacturer as opposed to kitchen sink steels adopted to knife use. Modern powder steel manufacturing technologies are able to create steel alloys with compositions that were not possible before. For example, Hitachi offers ZDP-189 steel that combines 3% carbon and 20% chromium with other metals. ZDP-189 is able to be hardened to RC65-67 and is stain resistant. If I need something for hard abuse I would use my Busse knives, which would chop through rocks, refridgerators and compact cars.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Teacher View Post
Each alloy has its strengths and weaknesses, and one should know what they are when going into knife buying. Just because something is harder does not make it overall superior. There are pros and cons to each aspect. For example, would you recommend making kitchen knives from S53 steel? Hard and tough as it is, I would never, ever recommend such a thing. It just has too many drawbacks for the home cook.
Yes, obviously different alloys have their strength and weaknesses, which is why alloys specifically designed for high performance cutlery are better for that purpose. No knife manufacturer or custom designer I know of makes knives with s53 steel at least currently, but it appears S53 has only recenlty relased. Even though S53 is designed for high-strengh aerospace applications, I would not be surprised if some manufacturer offered pocket knives made from it in some point in the future. Knife geeks need "the next greatest thing" to keep them interested.
post #125 of 430
Quote:
Originally Posted by iammatt View Post
If you are ever in San Francisco, you are more than welcome to come over for dinner.

Finally, some news we can use! Dinner at Matt's!
post #126 of 430
Quote:
Originally Posted by grimslade View Post
Finally, some news we can use! Dinner at Matt's!

I'm booking my flight as I type this.

Actually, I've been reading this thread with interest, and have been relatively entertained as well, but I haven't found much in this thread that's been inconsistent with what I've learned, extrapolating from the relative merits of chisels and razors from various countries. And funny enough, a country's strengths in razor-making extends to kitchen knives as well - French makes (TI, Le Grelot) are nimble and take a fine edge - German makes (Dovo, Henckels) are sturdy and less fincky - Japan artisans (Tosuke) take an astonishingly keen edge and last forever but are a bitch to hone, and you've got funny geometry there as well.

I'm still considering a Tojiro Gyutou, but no longer as a replacement for what already works but in a larger size. I already have enough collections and am just thinking about what works. Admittedly it's less romantic, but what really counts is what winds up on the plate.
post #127 of 430
I just use what feels best and has a good edge.

Just got a new Wusthof 8" cook's knife myself.
post #128 of 430
Quote:
Originally Posted by iammatt View Post
OK, my .02, as I said above, is that in the hands of somebody who both knows how to steel and use a knife, the most effective tool is a soft carbon, forged French chef's knife. Steeling just aligns the burrs on the edge of a knife so that they are all pointing in the same direction. This is done both by force and by the magnetic qualities of the steel. Once an edge is truly taken off of the knife, it needs to be resharpened, either on a wheel or on a stone. A harder steel knife will have a longer lasting edge, but it will be harder to keep that edge at the optimal angle with a steel, so there is give and take.
I don't understand why you think it would be harder to keep that edge.
Quote:
Originally Posted by iammatt View Post
As for shape, a French knife is preferable to a German knife because the tip is easier to use for fine cutting. A German shape knife is great for rocking, but is relatively useless for something like brunoise or even julienne. Most Japanese knives I have tried fail as far as being as nimble as a French knife, but the Globals are actually quite good. I have, or have had, several from each country so these are opinions based on use, not facts or second hand opinions. Japanese fish knives are great, but I find them relatively useless in real life.
You are probably thinking about traditional Japanese knives which tend to be pretty substantial and are sharpened on one side only (aka single bevel). Besides Global, who have been at it the longest, there are many other Japanese manufacturers who have been making Western style (read French and German) knives which usually lighter and thinner, which translates to being more nimble than their French and German counterparts. Knife forums are full of professional chefs who are singing praises for their Japanese made western style knives. Comparing the blade shape on French and German knives, the Germans usually have more belly while the tip looks similar enough not to make a big deal to me, though it could be due to my technique. Western style knives made in Japan normally have a blade shape that's halfway between their German and French counterparts but there are enough manufacturers and variations that you can pretty much get what you want. Then there are always North American custom makers like Murray Carter, Bob Kramer and Thomas Haslinger. The latter two used to be professional chefs before becoming knifemakers. Some manufaturers who make Western Style knives in Japan besides Global and Shun: Tojiro, Suisin, Nenox/Nenohi, Masamoto, MAC, Togiharu, Brieto, Glestain.
Quote:
Originally Posted by iammatt View Post
What I laugh at is the need for a damascus steel knife or something similarly beautiful. If you really like them, fine, but knives are tools and like any good tool you mold them to you through use and through sharpening, and something that is great only for the sake of its own beauty is not necessarily practical, as one would be nervous to have the edge and shape ground to fit the user as it might disturb the aesthetics of the knife.
You certainly don't need something beautiful, but I rarely see practicality sacrificed for aesthetics. I often see owners modifing their knives to their needs by rounding of the top of the blade to minimize the calouses caused by the pinch grop or replacing the handle with a more attractive one. Cooking in a home setting is a lot more pleasurable when you feel a connection with your tools or ingredients. Do you not feel different when cooking with random supermarket ingredients or something you grew yourself? People feel something special when using tools custom made for them or possessing of extraordinary beauty, similar to the way you must feel when wearing your bespoke clothing. Do feel free to point out if my brunoise or allumette is below par if I post a picture and it offends your sensibilities.
post #129 of 430
Quote:
Originally Posted by iammatt View Post
This is done both by force and by the magnetic qualities of the steel.
This is really, really, inaccurate, in every imaginable way. What, is the steel realigning the domains on the blade, and this is something you notice? I realize we are talking about some fine distinctions in this thread, but this is the only one that is so far out there as to have no ground in reality, or perchance passing that, in any manner that any human will ever be able to discern. I find it particularly troubling in light of all the pontificating that has been going on -- at least some of the other trivialites might be noticed by someone, but this....there is just no way.
Quote:
Originally Posted by iammatt View Post
What I laugh at is the need for a damascus steel knife or something similarly beautiful. If you really like them, fine, but knives are tools and like any good tool you mold them to you through use and through sharpening, and something that is great only for the sake of its own beauty is not necessarily practical, as one would be nervous to have the edge and shape ground to fit the user as it might disturb the aesthetics of the knife.
You laugh at the need for a damascus knife or something 'similarly beautiful?' On SF? Are you kidding me? You buy good suits, I presume, merely for the longevity of their superior construction? Ok, I realize other points can be raised from that analogy, but hopefully you see my point. More to the topic, I doubt if anyone has implied that 'beautiful' knives are great only for that quality alone. No, they are great because in addition to superb function they are also beautiful. They contain the best of humanity, that combination of the artistic and the rational. The best of functional things in this world are those at the intersection of practicality and pleasure, things that are beautiful while fulfilling a task. One of the greatest daily horrors in the U.S. is a divorce of the beautiful from the practical (typically driven by costs), as that allows fewer and fewer experiences that we have to be beautiful. Best, Huntsman
post #130 of 430
^^ good post. I'm still a little confused then. For my Japanese knives, the manufacturer, which I called, said that honing is not really necessary. Should I still get a ceramic steel anyways for my Japanese MAC knives? For my heavy duty cleaver I just ordered a German Wusthof Classic due to its ability to take abuse better than Japanese knives, or so I've read. There are better knives but for the price I think I got a pretty good little set going.
post #131 of 430
Thanks. MAC and you are probably not on the same page, as honing typically implies a very fine sharpening operation (using an abrasive that removes metal), whereas steeling indicates an operation in which the metal that is there and bent over from use is realigned with the blade. Metal is primarily deformed by steeling, whereas honing removes it. So yes, you should get a steel. You need one. Ceramic or otherwise I have no idea. ~ Huntsman
post #132 of 430
Quote:
Originally Posted by Huntsman View Post
Thanks. MAC and you are probably not on the same page, as honing typically implies a very fine sharpening operation (using an abrasive that removes metal), whereas steeling indicates an operation in which the metal that is there and bent over from use is realigned with the blade. Metal is primarily deformed by steeling, whereas honing removes it. So yes, you should get a steel. You need one. Ceramic or otherwise I have no idea. ~ Huntsman
Yes, I understand what the difference is between honing and sharpening. I was surprised they weren't emphatic about honing, in any case, I will order a ceramic steel right now anyways.
post #133 of 430
Sorry -- though you were conflagrating them. Lots of people do. Lots of firms say their knives never need sharpening, but I don't really believe that.
post #134 of 430
Quote:
Originally Posted by Huntsman View Post
You laugh at the need for a damascus knife or something 'similarly beautiful?' On SF? Are you kidding me? You buy good suits, I presume, merely for the longevity of their superior construction? Ok, I realize other points can be raised from that analogy, but hopefully you see my point.
First of all, I buy good suits because they look good on me, not simply because they are "beautiful." Second of all, most of these are not really Damascus steel, so in a sense they are playing "dress up" like many of the people on this board, and pretending to be something they are not. A cheap imitation, if you will.
Quote:
More to the topic, I doubt if anyone has implied that 'beautiful' knives are great only for that quality alone. No, they are great because in addition to superb function they are also beautiful. They contain the best of humanity, that combination of the artistic and the rational. The best of functional things in this world are those at the intersection of practicality and pleasure, things that are beautiful while fulfilling a task. One of the greatest daily horrors in the U.S. is a divorce of the beautiful from the practical (typically driven by costs), as that allows fewer and fewer experiences that we have to be beautiful. Best, Huntsman
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, as is function. As somebody with a lot of experience with knives, I can say that they are, if anything, less functional for me that most others I have tried. While one of the daily horrors in the US may be a divorce of what is practical from what is beautiful, I don't necessarily agree with you, I am certain that one of the daily horrors on the internet is the divorce of what is real from what is artifice. As far as your first comment, my understanding of steeling knives has always been that it realigns the burrs on the edge. It seems to be a popular belief, although perhaps it is a misconception. Nonetheless, I will continue to do it as I was taught, as it seems to me to work.
post #135 of 430
Quote:
Originally Posted by tiecollector View Post
^^ good post.

I'm still a little confused then. For my Japanese knives, the manufacturer, which I called, said that honing is not really necessary. Should I still get a ceramic steel anyways for my Japanese MAC knives?

For my heavy duty cleaver I just ordered a German Wusthof Classic due to its ability to take abuse better than Japanese knives, or so I've read.

There are better knives but for the price I think I got a pretty good little set going.

You might want to get another opinion. I just bought a stone for my MAC knife from a great Japanese hand tool and knife speciality store and they were very adamant that I never use a steel ceramic or otherwise. I have been led to believe that with the Japanese knives you are in fact honing the edge and due to the somewhat brittle nature of the steel you don't want to steel it at all.
Are you in the Bay Area? If so stop by Hida tool in North Berkeley http://www.hidatool.com/ If you like high end hand tools they are awesome. Well worth a look 'round.
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