Kitchen Knives

Discussion in 'Social Life, Food & Drink, Travel' started by Manton, Sep 15, 2007.

  1. Dmax

    Dmax Senior member

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    I've been using a Henckels Twinsharp knife sharpener on mid-priced Henkels, Wusthof, & Kitchenaid knives.... not too impressed. I want to learn how to sharpen properly before I spend $100+ per knife.

    Should I use a sharpening steel in addition to the Henckels Twinsharp, or is a sharpening steel enough on its own? I assume a mid-priced sharpening steel is sufficient?

    BTW, Amazon has a Shun 7" santoku for $108 (retail $144).


    I am not a big fan of "sharpening steels" since they don't really sharpen in the hands of most people.

    If you are interested in finding out more about sharpening your knives yourself I highly recommend this article by Chad Ward on Egullet
     
  2. caelte

    caelte Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    I am not a big fan of "sharpening steels" since they don't really sharpen in the hands of most people. If you are interested in finding out more about sharpening your knives yourself I highly recommend this article by Chad Ward on Egullet
    That's a great article. I've used Akansas stones for sharpening.They're fabulous, but time consuming, to use. I was into wood carving for awhile. The Arkansas stone will put a razor edge on a blade. I still have the old stones. You can tell if a blade is sharp by sighting down the blade in natural light, or as I prefer, a beam of sun. You can tell if a blade is sharp: light won't reflect off the edge. A beam of sunlight will go further by revealing the imperfections in the edge.
     
  3. tiecollector

    tiecollector Senior member

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    I think MAC is the best value out there! http://www.macknife.com/index.html
    This is what I was reading just now before I found this thread. I have a MAC SK-65 6.5" Santoku [​IMG] in my shopping cart right now. Should I also buy a paring knife? What is a good length for a paring knife? What is best for honing? sharpening? The knife I use now won't even cut a tomato [​IMG] The Shun's look cool and are what Alton Brown uses but the MAC looks like the best all around value.
     
  4. Girardian

    Girardian Senior member

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    Knives are like high end tea for me. I know a little and fear knowing more. The more I explore, the more certain I am that doom is around the corner.

    Presently, I'm adequately happy with a set of Cutco (!) knives I received as a gift a few years ago. Please feel no obligation to 'scratch the surface' on this one for me, I would not compare them to some of the company mentioned here.

    I like the press on the Mac knives -- but what to do when you've received a full set of other knives?
     
  5. speedster.8

    speedster.8 Senior member

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  6. ccc123

    ccc123 Senior member

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    RH Forschner by Victorinox, FIBROX line, best in class day in and day out for PRO use. also Victorinox Forged open stock and block sets are some of the best balanced high end knives I've ever used.

    Yes I work for Victorinox Swiss Army, and may appear to be biased, but I would put them on your radar to see if they meet your needs. Good luck
     
  7. Dmax

    Dmax Senior member

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    This is what I was reading just now before I found this thread. I have a MAC SK-65 6.5" Santoku [​IMG] in my shopping cart right now. Should I also buy a paring knife? What is a good length for a paring knife? What is best for honing? sharpening? The knife I use now won't even cut a tomato [​IMG] The Shun's look cool and are what Alton Brown uses but the MAC looks like the best all around value.
    I think MAC knives offer great value for money. I would get a paring knife if you don't have one. I find that between 3 and 4 inches works best. Japanese knives are usually sharpened using water stones. There is a learning curve involved. If you are interested in learning, you can start with a medium grit (1000 to 2000) water stone. You would also need a stone fixer/straightener which could be another stone of lower grit or a piece on sandpaper on a flat surface. You can start by practicing on your old knives, as long as they are not serrated.
     
  8. Dmax

    Dmax Senior member

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    RH Forschner by Victorinox, FIBROX line, best in class day in and day out for PRO use. also Victorinox Forged open stock and block sets are some of the best balanced high end knives I've ever used. Yes I work for Victorinox Swiss Army, and may appear to be biased, but I would put them on your radar to see if they meet your needs. Good luck
    Do you know which steel does Victorinox use in their Fibrox and Forged lines and at what hardness (RC)?
     
  9. Teacher

    Teacher Senior member

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    I think there are some misunderstandings on this thread about knife performance. For example, despite modern formulations and air-hardening techniques, it isn't possible for a knife to wear longer and sharpen faster. Granted, some of the more modern steels can hone faster (on a steel) because the higher vanadium content keeps the microscopic serrations from snapping off, but they can't actually be sharpened faster. As one guy in the steel industry said, if it's harder, it wears longer and sharpens slower; if it's softer, it wears out faster but sharpens faster too (paraphrased, of course).

    Also, each blade can be equally sharp. Yes, the ceramic blades are, in theory, sharper than steel ones, but it really has no practical advantage. You wouldn't notice a real difference in real-life situations. So to say that one brand is sharper than another probably means that the "sharper" brand has softer steel and is easier to sharpen and hone.

    Knife choice is really all about personal preference, and that's been demonstrated perfectly on this thread. One person loves a knife, another is unimpressed by it. They're both right, of course, because they're probably looking for different things and have different ideas about comfort. For example, I just simply don't like most Japanese knives. It's not about quality, it's about feel. For certain slicing tasks they're fine for me, but I prefer heavier knives for most things. Hell, I use my 10" Henckels chef's knife -- my companion of about 15 years now -- for finely mincing garlic. I don't know what I'd do without it. Others don't like knives of this size.

    I also like the Henckels for its shape. Its basically a typical German shape, but it has the finer tip of a typical French chef's knife, which gives me a little less "rock" than a German knife but trades that in for finer tip control. Its hardness -- RC 60 -- makes for a longer-wearing edge, which I like on this workhorse. Now, for faster honing for quick projects, I switch to my Thiers-Issard Sabatier. I have the 6" version and use it as a utility knife. It's also wonderful.

    I'm surprised nobody's mentioned Lamson Sharp. They're American made, competetively priced, and attractive. I have only one but I love it. The steel is a little softer so they're easier to hone and sharpen, but due to this I'm not sure I'd like a Lamson chef's knife.

    For a short time Chef's Choice made a premium line of cuttler that was awesome. It was quite hard and very spendy, and maybe that's why it didn't work. I have a couple, including a 10" kuellen slicer that is just a joy to use. It's kind of a bitch to hone, though.
     
  10. DocHolliday

    DocHolliday Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    I'm glad you posted that, Teacher, because you made several points I was too lazy to write out. And I agree with your assessment of the Henckles. Periodically I'm tempted to augment my Henckles, but then I think, why? They do what I need them to do, and they do it well. Feel comfortable in my hand. I'm used to working with them. I'm happy with them. In short, I don't need more knives to accomplish what I want. It's one area where I've managed to maintain a sort of Zen simplicity, and I'm pleased about that.

    All this goes to your "personal preference" point ...
     
  11. Dmax

    Dmax Senior member

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    I also like the Henckels for its shape. Its basically a typical German shape, but it has the finer tip of a typical French chef's knife, which gives me a little less "rock" than a German knife but trades that in for finer tip control. Its hardness -- RC 60 -
    Which line is your old Henckels knife from? Is it stain-resistant? If I had to guess most current Henckels are around RC56-57, except for their Japan manufactured Twin Cermax/Twin Cermax M66 lines.
     
  12. Antonio Centeno

    Antonio Centeno Senior member

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  13. tiecollector

    tiecollector Senior member

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    I just called MAC knives, whose US division happens to be a mile from my house, and they said that they recommend this for honing and sharpening:

    [​IMG]

    I'm going to try it even if it isn't as hardcore as using stones.
     
  14. Teacher

    Teacher Senior member

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    Which line is your old Henckels knife from? Is it stain-resistant? If I had to guess most current Henckels are around RC56-57, except for their Japan manufactured Twin Cermax/Twin Cermax M66 lines.

    The pieces I have are the Twin Pro "S", which I think are still being made. According to the literature at the time, the chef's knives were 60. Others were lower, however. They made a point at the time of specifying that some knives were softer than others.
     
  15. DNW

    DNW Senior member

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    The pieces I have are the Twin Pro "S", which I think are still being made. According to the literature at the time, the chef's knives were 60. Others were lower, however. They made a point at the time of specifying that some knives were softer than others.

    I have a 10 piece set from this line. These are reasonably priced, sharp, and comfortable to handle. As much as I like toys and kitchen gadgets, I can't imagine needing more fancy or advance knives. Most of the time, the Santoku and the 6" utility knife are all I need.

    My mom has a Henckels set going on about 15 years now. She cooks just about everyday, and the knives are still as pleasurable to handle as my newer set. She had never thought about "upgrading" her knives even though you can barely read the Henckels mark on the blade. If they're still sharp and still comfortable to handle, why bother?
     

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