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what brand of knives...

smokesniffersmokesniffer Posts: 1,438
edited December 2011 in EggHead Forum
Looking to see what people are using for knives. I am looking at Henkel or Wusrhof. Hearing different things, like go Forged Steel vrs Stamped steel.
Some of these block sets are Pricey. I don't want to spend big money. Anyone out there have any suggestions. Are these brands worth the Dollars. Just regular house hold use. Henkel Classic on for $300. This set has 7 knives and scissors and block.Does that sound reasonable? Is Amazon the place to buy?? Any suggestions would be appreciated.
TIA
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Comments

  • BOWHUNRBOWHUNR Posts: 1,370
    I bought all of my Wusthof Classics new off of eBay.  I had the ones I wanted picked out and was just patient and watched for deals.  I would steer away from sets as usually there are several knives that never get used.  Go to a kitchen shop and check out what brand and style you're after and then watch for deals and build your own set for half the price.

    Mike
    Omaha, NE

    I'm ashamed what I did for a Klondike Bar!!

    Omaha, NE
  • 18 pc Wusrhof from Macys on-line. They had some smoking deals just before Christmas.

    Big Lake, Minnesota

    Large BGE, Stokers, Adjustable Rig

  • I have had a set of "AMERICAN MADE" Cutco Cutlery since before I got married almost 30+ years ago.  None of the serrated knives have ever been sharpened... 
    I rarely need to run the Chef and Butcher knives across a steel.  I was a CC salesman for ~3 months and these were my "demo" knives.   And as I stated have had them more than 30+ years.  One thing I did to demonstrate sharpness was to slice a piece of regular white bread using the bread knife. My personal best was to get 5 very thin slices from a single piece of bread.  They are pricey but last forever and come with a lifetime guarantee.  
  • BotchBotch Posts: 2,289
    Stamped are generally less-expensive than forged, but are equally-sharp if the metallurgy is correct.
     
    I will risk starting a fight, however: hit your local kitchen shop to actually see how each brand feels in your own hand, but please don't walk out and then wait for the best price on the 'net.  Brick-n-mortar stores are disappearing because of mail-order/net sales, and I feel its unfair to use their property/utilities/help/stocking costs to help you make a decision, but then give your dollars to someone else.  Not only is it unfair to your local dealer, but its part of the reason our unemployment is so high [/soapbox:]
     
    Okay, I have a beloved Henckel's "4-Star" set that I have used for 25 years; I'm 6'5" and have big hands, and they just "fit" me.  I agree with Bowhunr to not buy a big set; what I did was buy a three-piece set (8" chef's knife, paring knife, and sharpening steel) housed in a wooden block with slots for ten knives.  Then, every Mother's Day (when cutlery would go on sale) I'd buy one knife that I felt would solve a problem that the original two knives didn't.  I now have a full set, but its funny, when you look at my full set sitting in the block its VERY obvious that two handles are polished very glossy just from maximum use/wear:  the original 8" chef's knife and the parer!   
    Someday I'd like to try one of those pricey ceramic Japanese cleavers, but I really can't think of what it would do that my current knives can't... 
    Hope this helps!  

    _____________________________________________
     
    I Know Why The Egged Bird Sings.
     
    Ogden, Utard.  
  • 4Runner4Runner Posts: 1,233
    I got a Sujihki (slicer), Gyuto (chef) and a HoneSuki (boning) in the VG series. http://japanesechefsknife.com/VGSeries.html#WIDTH: 323px; HEIGHT: 181px

    Also really like these. http://japanesechefsknife.com/UX10Series.html

    I had to learn to sharpen them properly to make sure my investment is protected.

    Joe - I'm a reformed gasser-holic aka 4Runner Columbia, SC Wonderful BGE Resource Site: http://www.nakedwhiz.com/ceramicfaq.htm and http://www.nibblemethis.com/
  • Cooks Illustrated reviews knives periodically and they always pick some Victorinox Forschner knife that costs less than $30.  That'd be great a backup, but I'm not much on the plastic handles.  They also always say stay away from the sets (just as with cookware) because you wind up paying for knives you never use.  (Though most sets do come with a steel, which is a near-essential and might not be the first thing people buy out of open-stock.) Here's what I use, in order of frequency:

    A Shun 8" santoku with a granton blade.  I love the D-shaped handle and the santoku shape.  This is my knife for everyday tasks.  Shun will sharpen this for you, free, but you have to send it back to them.  There's an industrial sharpening shop in town that'll do it (to the 14-degrees, or whatever, it's supposed to be) along with my "regular" knives for maybe 5 bucks.  I think this was <$125 at Macy's.  This (or the 8" chef's it replaced) gets used >75% of the time.

    A Wusthof "classic" 10" chef's knife.  For when the santoku's dirty or when I have a lot of stuff to chop and want the longer blade. Also in the $125-150 range.

    A Henckel's serrated knife, ~11".  I got this as a gift, and it was probably cheap, but I like the serrations better than the ones on my Wusthof, which is the "super slicer" and has sorta' reversed serrations and I never use it. I use the henckels for bread, mostly.

    A variety of Wusthof paring knives,  I have the 3.5" straight "classic" utility knife, but also a couple of cheapies that came in a 3-pack and have different shapes.  I mostly use whichever comes out of the drawer first.

    -occasional use-
    An Oxo ceramic paring knife.  I bought this because it was cheap (~$15?) came with a nice plastic cover and I needed something to throw in the cooler with cheese and sausage for road trips. It's bright red, too, and hard to lose in the bottom of the cooler. It's a surprisingly good little knife, and could do for every-day.

    A Wusthof carving slicer, which I only really use for poultry, and rarely.

    A Wusthof "tomato" knife, which is handy for thin-skinned heirlooms.  Another gift, but I wouldn't have bought it for myself.
  • My favorite 2 knives in my knife drawer are my Wusthof Santoku and Kyocera ceramic Santoku knives. The ceramic is really nice, but I would not advise using it for meats with bones since you can chip the blade. The best investment that I recently made for my steel knives was the Chef Choice 130 knife sharpener and a Surgi-Sharp 1"x30" leather strop belt for my band saw. Having a good knife sharpener and leather strop will help ensure that even a less expensive blade is razor sharp when you need it.
  • Ten years ago, I bought Henckels Four Star which were then the #2 recommended knife per consumers reports.  I supplemented my original purchase with selected knives (all 4 star) from ebay.  My originals came from bed, bath and beyond for less than 300 and have continued to be excellent kitchen knives.  They are still highly reviewed by CR as best buys or some such.  I'm equally certain they will last another 20 or until my children no longer think I should handle a knife and they rid the house of sharp objects.  Buy the 4 star--high quality German steel. 
  • I am a firm believer of quality knives. I have a set of 9 Wusthof Classic knives that I have acquired over the years. I started with a 6" chefs and a 3" paring knife when I was single back in the early 90's. About 5 years later I added the 8" chefs. My collection stayed at that size until I got married in 2005. At that time we added a second paring (4"), a 4" chef's knife (aka veggie knife), A 7" Santuko, a boning knife, an offset handled bread knife, and 10" slicer. The chef's/santuko knives get the most use, then the paring, with the slicer and boning being used rarely at best.
    I agree with the concept of not buying sets. They are frequently filled with knives that you don't want or need. In my opinion, a steel is not the right tool for keeping them in shape. Sure, if you are good and use it consistently, they are great, but most people aren't good with a steel and you can do a lot more harm to your knives by using a steel badly. If the knife is truly dull, a steel will not bring it back. I am a big fan of a knife block however. Not liking the ones on the counter, I made my own out of maple and it hangs on a cabinet end over the sink.
    I am such a fan of these knives I recently gave a 6" chefs and a 3" paring to in-laws for Christmas. I was able to find a smoking' deal on the web at "Cutlery and More". I shopped Amazon, Macy's, Zabars in NYC, William "Some-more-money-a". It included a sharpener. My in-laws had horrible knives. One of them was so flimsy that it steered itself, which you really don't want when cutting anything. 
    In summary, spend some money on good knives. Don't feel compelled to get everything at once. Take good care of what you do buy and it will last you a lifetime.
    Gardiner
    Large BGE
    Dallas
  • gdenbygdenby Posts: 4,158
    If you don't want to spend a lot of money, look at the Victorinox Forschner line, or the (Shun) Kai Wasabi line. The Forschners do have plastic handles, and are stamped, but the blades are good. The Kai also have plastic handles, but are a little more substantial.

    Concentrate on a good chef's knife, and a good parer, 3 - 4 inches long. Most people find those 2 cover most jobs. Really, $100 for both is a reasonable price.
  • FxLynchFxLynch Posts: 433
    Messermeister for my cleaver/chinese kitchen knife that I use 98%, and a cheap Kuhn Rikon paring knife I use about 2% of the time.

    I've cooked (mainly) Thai for over 16 years now, cutting meats, poultry, veggies into all shapes and sizes, and everything in between.  I'm am very much a minimalist when it comes to tools and equipment.  I love quality, and love having one thing that I get used to that will last me for decades.  My first chinese kitchen knife cost under $5 and lasted about 12 years till it developed a crack while cutting through bone in rib eye loin.

    When I see other Thai chefs cooking, even my two knives make me feel a little ritzy compared to the plain carbon steel knives they have used for 20+ years.

    I do use a Spyderco Tri Angle sharpmaker for sharpening.  It's simple to use, can sharpen anything from knives to dental tools, and consistently gives my knives a near razor edge (they can shave hair on my arm so I consider them sharp enough)

    Frank
  • This is a great discussion and I'd like to pop in with 2 observations.  Many a fight/arguement/fuss has occurred at my house when I find my 4 Stars in the dishwasher.  I have it in my mind that the water jets destroy edges and insist they not be placed in the machine.  I wonder if this is correct thinking.  ??

    Second-knife sharpener.  I remain in a quandary about which is best.  I use a Magic Chef electric most of the time but wonder if something better looms.  It keeps a good edge but its difficult to maintain a steady pull through the pads and some of the knives show uneven sharpening.  Any adivce here?

  • Village IdiotVillage Idiot Posts: 6,947
    edited December 2011
    I prefer Japanese knives, like Shun.  They have a 17° edge while the German knives, like Henckel and Wusthöf have a 22° edge, thus making the Japanese knives sharper out of the box.

    However, all knives will go dull, so if you can't sharpen a knife, you're throwing your money away on the high end knives.

    I use a Bob Kramer sharpening kit (manual) followed by a barber's strop.  It has three stones from course to fine, and I get all of my knives to where they easily slice paper.

    Ideally, I'd get carbon steel knives (not stainless). They won't hold their edge as long, but they are easier to sharpen, and after a while, they will develop a patina that Julia Childs would envy.  Carbon steel knives are hard to find though.  For the ultimate, the Bob Kramer set are the finest, imho.  I could only afford one of these knives.  They are manufactured by Zwilling JA Henckels in Japan, but are designed to his specs.


    One word of caution.  All the high end brands have different lines, from excellent to junk.  Also, none of the "celebrity knives" like Paula Dean, etc. are worth a crap.

    __________________________________________

    Dripping Springs, Texas.
    Gateway to the Hill Country

  • tjvtjv Posts: 3,219
    edited December 2011
    What ever you get make sure it includes a sharpening steel to quickly put a sharp edge back on the blade.  Couple swipes along the sharpening steel and the blade is like new.   t
    www.ceramicgrillstore.com
    ACGP, Inc.
  • tjv is correct.  A steel is invaluable.  However, a steel won't sharpen a dull knife.  When you use a sharp knife, the edges will get microscopically bent.  A honing steel will straighten it out to being straight.  However, once dull, you must use a sharpening stone to reestablish the "V" and a steel won't do that.

    When using a steel, don't do like the cowboy chefs do on TV where they hold the steel with one hand and quickly zip the knife on both sides with the other hand.  Hold the steel vertically on a chopping block, and work both sides with a downward motion, maintaining the correct angle.  That way, you will get the entire length of the knife, rather than from the middle to end.
    __________________________________________

    Dripping Springs, Texas.
    Gateway to the Hill Country

  • tjvtjv Posts: 3,219
    edited December 2011
    When using a steel, don't do like the cowboy chefs do on TV where they hold the steel with one hand and quickly zip the knife on both sides with the other hand.  
    Yep, I'm always fighting the urge to continually work the knife along the sharpening steel,  t
    www.ceramicgrillstore.com
    ACGP, Inc.
  • SqueezySqueezy Posts: 1,101

    This is my go to guy for knives ... he started out as a hobbiest, now has a well stocked store...

     

    http://on-the-edge.ca/

    Never eat anything passed through a window unless you're a seagull ...
    BGE Lg.
  • gdenbygdenby Posts: 4,158
    Check this out:

    http://zknives.com/knives/kitchen/misc/articles/stainlessindishwasher.shtml

    Even a decent stainless will slowly be damaged in a washer. Imagine the wear after years.

    Many a fight/arguement/fuss has occurred at my house when I find my 4 Stars in the dishwasher.  I have it in my mind that the water jets destroy edges and insist they not be placed in the machine.  I wonder if this is correct thinking.  ??

    Second-knife sharpener.  I remain in a quandary about which is best.  I use a Magic Chef electric most of the time but wonder if something better looms.  It keeps a good edge but its difficult to maintain a steady pull through the pads and some of the knives show uneven sharpening.  Any adivce here?

    Newer sharpening machines may be worth using. Check reviews. Many of the older models could not hold a steady angle, bs they often ground away too much of the blade. I have an old blade the my mother sent through a grinder every week, and it is at least 3/8" shorter and thinner than when new.
  • LitLit Posts: 2,372
    I would never use a steel rod on my knives. You can never get the burr where you need it to make it truly sharp with all the pressure centralized into the small diameter of the rod. I prefer my 6000 grit stone for honing and just hit it on my strop between normal use. I have used the Kramer carbon knives and I have a shun Kramer chef but as far as carbon knives go I think there are much better knives for the money out there. I recently got a takeda carbon 240mm gyuto that is lighter than the zwilling 8" chef and in my opinion a much better knife. Whatever you do go Japanese don't get a German knife and start with an 8" chef or gyuto. Go to chefknivestogo.com and click their best sellers and get the 210mm WA-gyuto for $60 it's the best knife you are going to get for the money and it's carbon. They also have like 20 videos about sharpening knives on stones that are really good. To keep a knife sharp like the day you got it or sharper you will need to learn to use a stone don't even run a good knife through one of the cheap electric sharpeners. To the poster above talking about using a Japanese cleaver the CCK small cleaver on chef knives to go is only $40 and is a really good thin vegetable cleaver and fun to use. It's Chinese not Japanese though.
  • AD18AD18 Posts: 122
    I have a Henckel Professional S 8" Chef knife, 8" boning knife, and paring knife.  These 3 knives get the lions share of all the work in the kitchen.  Have an old no name carving knife as well.  Got a Henckel steel for touch ups and a Spyderco Sharpmaker for sharpening.  I strongly believe you should try and get the knife in your hand to see how it feels before buying, especially if you are going to use them a lot.  Handle feel and knife weight are important to me.  I'd focus my budget on getting a few good knives once, and fill in the blanks over time instead of buying one of the block sets. 
    Large BGE, Weber 22.5 kettle, Weber Genesis
    Cobourg, Ontario
  • I would never use a steel rod on my knives. You can never get the burr where you need it to make it truly sharp with all the pressure centralized into the small diameter of the rod I prefer my 6000 grit stone for honing and just hit it on my strop between normal use. I have used the Kramer carbon knives and I have a shun Kramer chef but as far as carbon knives go I think there are much better knives for the money out there. I recently got a takeda carbon 240mm gyuto that is lighter than the zwilling 8" chef and in my opinion a much better knife. Whatever you do go Japanese don't get a German knife and start with an 8" chef or gyuto. Go to chefknivestogo.com and click their best sellers and get the 210mm WA-gyuto for $60 it's the best knife you are going to get for the money and it's carbon. They also have like 20 videos about sharpening knives on stones that are really good. To keep a knife sharp like the day you got it or sharper you will need to learn to use a stone don't even run a good knife through one of the cheap electric sharpeners. To the poster above talking about using a Japanese cleaver the CCK small cleaver on chef knives to go is only $40 and is a really good thin vegetable cleaver and fun to use. It's Chinese not Japanese though.
    Lit, chefknivestogo.com is a great site.  Thanks.  I had searched for carbon knives without success.  The WA-guyto for $60 is a no-brainer, and I will pick one up when they replenish their stock.  

    The Takedas looks good too, but they appear to be as expensive or more than the Kramers.

    I have to disagree (somewhat) with the steel, though.  I don't use a round steel.  I use an oblong steel and so I get more surface area of the steel on the knife.  Also, I don't work fast so I can maintain my angle.  Works for me, but I'm sure your 6000 grit stone works just as well.  I think the steel would be faster though.

    And, I completely agree with you about using a stone to sharpen, rather than an electric sharpener.
    __________________________________________

    Dripping Springs, Texas.
    Gateway to the Hill Country

  • LitLit Posts: 2,372
    I didn't even know there are flat steels I have just made it a habit of going to my stones. There are newer stones I have seen that you don't have tp soak that I am going to try soon. As you mentioned the stones take longer for sure since they have to soak for 10 minutes to a half hour depending on which you use but once they are ready it only takes a couple passes. The takedas are about the same price as the kramers. When I was looking at knives it came down to the Kramer carbon or te takeda. I went to a sur la table and held a couple of the kramers and they were nice for sure but I ended up with the takeda. Mine is actually over 10" and is lighter than my knives half the size. I have never gotten an 8" chef knife because someday I will get a real Kramer. I have been on the list to get on the waiting list for 2 years.
  • Hillbilly-HightechHillbilly-Hightech Posts: 966
    edited December 2011
    It was always my understanding that a steel is only meant as a honing apparatus, to straighten out the tiny "waves" (for lack of a better word) along the blade edge, but it won't put the edge back on the knife - that's where a sharpener (ie, stone) comes in to play. 
    Don't get set into one form, adapt it and build your own, and let it grow, be like water. Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless — like water. Now you put water in a cup, it becomes the cup... Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend. - Bruce Lee
  • LitLit Posts: 2,372

    Here's a quick video of why its more important to learn how to sharpen your knives and get the right equipment to do so than it is to go out and buy expensive knives that you don't know how to care for. This is a $15 knife that is sharper than just about any knife you can buy. I use this for camping and when I need a knife away from home. I cut halfway through my finger at Eggtoberfest with this thing. I took this to 1000 grit about 20 passes per side, 6000 about 25 passes per side, and then stropped by hand about 25 passes per side this morning and then made the video. You can see the side of this knife is still all messed up and uneven from where I used to use an electric sharpener on it years ago but I have changed the angle to probably 10 degrees or so but it is soft so it will handle it (I don't recommend this low of an angle for hard Japanese knives as they will chip). The setup I use to sharpen cost me about $70 which is far less than any decent electric sharpener.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hYGKhwx315A&feature=youtu.be

  •  I have never gotten an 8" chef knife because someday I will get a real Kramer. I have been on the list to get on the waiting list for 2 years.
    Wow.  You're out of my league, Brother.  A real Kramer costs $2,000 to $3,000, so I'm told.

    BTW, I looked at the sharpening videos at chefknivestogo and learned a few things.  I will buy a deburring felt and perhaps, a natural Japanese stone (a Shiage-to if I can afford it) for the finishing stone.

    Thanks for the heads up.
    __________________________________________

    Dripping Springs, Texas.
    Gateway to the Hill Country

  • LitLit Posts: 2,372
    It was always my understanding that a steel is only meant as a honing apparatus, to straighten out the tiny "waves" (for lack of a better word) along the blade edge, but it won't put the edge back on the knife - that's where a sharpener comes in to play. 
    Their not really waves its the burr of the knife you are trying to get to srand up straight again. The round rods place all the pressure in a small area where you are trying to get the blade to stand up. All that pressure makes it bend over so you are doing what they call chasing the burr (bending it to one side from the pressure then back to the other and so forth due to the pressure all being in the small area provided from the honing rod. The stone helps spread the pressure over a larger surface so you actually get the burr to stand up). Stones are great for sharpening at 500/1000 grit but they sell 6000 grit stones that feel smooth to the touch but are great for honing.
  • rodentrodent Posts: 106
    I basically use two knives, an 8" santoku and a paring knife. They are by Global and are Japanese. I got these as a gift and have never gone back to my henckels. I prefer the finer edge on the Japanese knives. For rough work such as hacking chickens, I bought a carbon steel Chinese cleaver at a Chinese store for 15.00.
  •  
    Their not really waves its the burr of the knife you are trying to get to srand up straight again. The round rods place all the pressure in a small area where you are trying to get the blade to stand up. All that pressure makes it bend over so you are doing what they call chasing the burr (bending it to one side from the pressure then back to the other and so forth due to the pressure all being in the small area provided from the honing rod. The stone helps spread the pressure over a larger surface so you actually get the burr to stand up). Stones are great for sharpening at 500/1000 grit but they sell 6000 grit stones that feel smooth to the touch but are great for honing.
    ahhhhh, interesting to know about "chasing the burr" - that makes perfect logical sense - and that's good to know. 

    BTW, just to make sure I understand what you use - you're saying you use a fine grit stone rather than a steel? 

    And what exactly does a barber's strop do? 

    Finally, can you list what is the proper / preferred method & tools? 

    (sorry for all the questions - but 1 of the Xmas presents was an 8-piece Shun Ken Onion set, so I gotta know)!!!


    :D
    Don't get set into one form, adapt it and build your own, and let it grow, be like water. Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless — like water. Now you put water in a cup, it becomes the cup... Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend. - Bruce Lee
  • LitLit Posts: 2,372
     I have never gotten an 8" chef knife because someday I will get a real Kramer. I have been on the list to get on the waiting list for 2 years.
    Wow.  You're out of my league, Brother.  A real Kramer costs $2,000 to $3,000, so I'm told.


    BTW, I looked at the sharpening videos at chefknivestogo and learned a few things.  I will buy a deburring felt and perhaps, a natural Japanese stone (a Shiage-to if I can afford it) for the finishing stone.



    Thanks for the heads up.
    I might be dreaming about the Kramer but its a good dream. They are several hundred an inch for the non-Damascus and I believe in the $400 an inch range for Damascus. For deburring I went to Highland hardware in Atlanta and got a classic leather strop and glued it to a 3*3 piece of wood and it works well. I really want the hone America base with the accessories from chefknives to go with some 1 micron paste and I would be done buying sharpening stuff. If you watched the videos its the metal block with the different magnetic pads.
  • Oh yeah.  I guess a strop would do the same thing.  I have a regular barber's strop I use at the very end of the sharpening, but I'll see what stropping will do for me between stones.

    (I think we've highjacked this thread.  Sorry)
    __________________________________________

    Dripping Springs, Texas.
    Gateway to the Hill Country

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