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Knives

noarmysargentnoarmysargent Posts: 57
edited November 2012 in EggHead Forum
Knives seem to be on going topic. I am a long time woodworker and have understanding how important good tools can be. I get so much good info from you guys so, maybe I can be of some help. The truth is, I can get a great edge on the cheapest knife I can find. The trick is keeping that edge. Quality is important. Not the name. Here are a few tips; Hand wash knives in warm water by hand. NEVER in a dishwasher. The knife will become weakened with extremely hot water. Never keep knives stacked in a drawer. They bang together. Metal to metal leads to damage. Sharpen more often. It is much easier to get the edge back. Practice, it's a simple technique. I do not believe in over paying for knives. You often pay extra for a name and not quality. My friends call me the Consumer Reports Guru. Not sure about that but.... The July 2012 issue of CR gives the example of Zwilling J.A. Henckels Twin Profection cost $600 for the set. They are great knives! For $75, you get the Ginsu Chikara set. It performs at the same level as the Henckels! Point- you can buy a good mid range knife that will give you great results with out over paying. When you can, buy in sets. It is a much better deal. Have a Great Weekend!

Comments

  • LitLit Posts: 2,631
    I have always heard never buy knife sets. I bought several knife sets before I knew any better and always ended up using 2-3 knives out of the 8-10 knife set. I also don't think sharpening all the time is good advice either. I hone regularly on my 6000 grit stone and then strop but i sharpen my knives every 6 months or so probably less and i keep my knives sharp enough to shave with. You will lessen the life of your knife if you are actually sharpening it often.
  • noarmysargentnoarmysargent Posts: 57
    edited November 2012
    Lit, what you say about sets is true. I should have been more specific. 3 knife sets is more inline with what I was talking about. You say you sharpen every 6 months. That is pretty often. I have sharpened knives that have not been sharpened except by the factory. As you know it takes a more course grit to get the knife back to where it should be. More metal is wasted. Sounds like you sharpen as often as I do.
  • Interesting discussion...thanks for sharing the knife care info.

    Alexander City,Al
  • gdenbygdenby Posts: 4,229
    Let me toss in a couple of things.

    +1 on not paying for just a name (and a vendor's name.)

    Learn good knife skills and good knife maintenance practices. Beyond not tossing them in a sink or dishwasher, learn to wipe them down during use. For stainless/stain resistant knives, this mostly helps reduce contamination hazards. But traditional carbon steel knives, which often have a price-performance better than stainless, need to be kept clean and dry. And oiled during long term storage.

    It is unusual to find a knife w. a perfect balance of hardness and toughness. Learn to use which knives are suitable for fine work, but are brittle and can chip, and those which will not hold a very acute edge, but don't suffer from being pushed into a bone.

    Learn to use a honing steel properly, and use it frequently.

    Personal opinion. Serrated knives are not knives, they are saws. They are suitable for stale bread and to be pushed against ceramic and glass plates.



  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 11,131
    Good advice. 

    The Germans have a history and reputation for making good steel.  The Japanese now make the best knives.  High tech alloys are expensive, but you don't need them.  There are compromises when choosing the steel alloy in your knife.

    Harder alloys are more brittle, hold an edge longer and hare harder to sharpen.  The hardest alloys are too brittle to be used by themselves, so they're usually sandwiched between softer alloys.

    The carbon steel knives are a good compromise and excellent price/performance, but they need a dedicated owner.

    If people just sharpened their knives - kept them sharp, even cheap knives cut well.  I'd say if you're on a budget and want sharp knives, put more money into a good sharpening system rather than the knives, then buy individual knives based on your needs.  Most people go to two or three knives for all their cooking.

    I oddly don't see much on Chinese chef knives here, but they're excellent all purpose cooking knives - they're very versatile and the large flat is great for moving diced/chopped food, the back can tenderize, the flat can crush garlic and other foods.

    My go-to knives are my Shun chef knife (VG10 core) with a 17 degree edge, and my Wustof santoku.  I broke my Chinese Chef knife trying to use it like a cleaver to cut up frozen King crab (what an idiot!).

    Here's some good info on sharpening from wiki.

    Knife sharpening proceeds in several stages, in order from coarsest (most destructive) to finest (most delicate). These may be referred to either by the effect or by the tool. Naming by effect, the stages are:

    1. sharpening – removing metal to form a new edge
      1. rough sharpening (using either water stones, oil stones, or medium grits of sandpaper in the scary sharp method of sharpening)
      2. fine sharpening (using the same tools as above, but in finer grits)
    2. straightening – straightening the existing metal on the blade, but not removing significant quantities of metal
    3. polishing (also called stropping)– giving a mirror finish, but not significantly altering the edge.
      • polishing may also be achieved by buffing a blade: instead of moving the knife against a flat leather strop loaded with fine abrasive, the knife is held still and a powered circular cloth wheel is moved against the knife.

    Named by tools, the same three stages are:

    1. grinding (on a grinding wheel) or whetting (on a whetstone)
    2. steeling, using a honing steel
    3. stropping, on a razor strop or buffing on a wheel

    The word "honing" is ambiguous, and may refer to either fine sharpening (step 1.2) or straightening (step 2).

    The finest level of sharpening is done most frequently, while the coarser levels are done progressively more rarely, and sharpening methods differ between blades and applications.

    For example, a straight razor used for shaving is stropped before each use, and may be stropped part-way through use, while it will be fine sharpened on a stone a few times per year, and re-ground on a rough stone after several years.

    By contrast, a kitchen knife is steeled before or after each use (and may be steeled during heavy use, as by butchers), and sharpened on a stone a few times per year.

    Blade damage

    Blades are damaged primarily by buckling – compressive force, from being pressed into a hard object, such as bone, ice, or a hard cutting board – and by bending, from sideways pressure. Both of these tend to roll the edge of a blade, due to metal's ductile nature.

    Blades may also be damaged by being corroded by acid (as when cutting lemons or tomatoes) or by high temperatures and corrosive chemicals in a dishwasher.

    If a knife is used as a scraper, a pry-bar, or encounters hard particles in softer materials or fully, there may be a sideways load at the tip, causing bending damage.

    Blade damage is avoided by:

    • using an appropriate blade for the task – a thinner blade for more delicate work, and a thicker blade whenever a thinner blade is not required (e.g. a thinner blade might be used to cut fillets, butterfly steak or roast for stuffing, or perform Mukimono, while a thicker one might be used to slice or chop repeatedly, separate primal cuts of poultry or small game, or scrape and trim fat from meat or hide, as these actions would be more likely to cause unnecessary wear on a thinner blade.)
    • using a soft cutting surface,
    • straight cutting, with no side-to-side movement,
    • immediate cleaning.

    ______________________________________________
    This is my signature line just so you're not confused.
    Large and Medium BGE, two turntables and a microphone, my friend.
    New Orleans, LA - we know how to eat 

  • allsidallsid Posts: 351
    Lit said:
    I have always heard never buy knife sets. I bought several knife sets before I knew any better and always ended up using 2-3 knives out of the 8-10 knife set. I also don't think sharpening all the time is good advice either. I hone regularly on my 6000 grit stone and then strop but i sharpen my knives every 6 months or so probably less and i keep my knives sharp enough to shave with. You will lessen the life of your knife if you are actually sharpening it often.

    When you say sharpen every 6 months, can you or someone sharp go over the procedure perhaps with some photos of your sharpening equipment?  I own a chef's choice electric sharpener, and a diamond steel.  At one point I had a wet stone from the sporting goods store that was the thickness of a gram cracker.  I am willing to invest in some quality equipment to get a good edge, but am kind of at a loss for what I should buy and what I am just being sold.  Thanks-
  • German knives and Japanese knives both serve a purpose. Japanese knines ase (generally) heat treated harder than German knives. They use steels that work well with the harder treating. They take a more acute angle, but are more prone to chipping due to the hardness. German knives get very sharp and are more prone to "rolling" an edge as opposed to chipping. That's where the steel comes in. When you steel a knife, you are not sharpening you are basically straightening the edge. So, japanese knives harder, hold an edge longer and German knives are softer and are easier to keep sharp. What I like least about German knives is that the edge of the blade doesn't go entirely to the rear. Once u lose enough steel the edge won't lie flat on your board unless you take the tang to a grinder which will messs with the heat treat. As far as sharpening goes, search google and YouTube for "apex edge pro". Simple to use and repeatable results. Plus you can choose an infinite number of bevels, so it works great for German or Japanese knives.
  • Nola, do you find your VG-10 hard to bring back from the dead? I have 6 or 8 VG-10 blades and they perform great in a field environment (rust resistance, edge retention ect..) They are a little harder to sharpen for me, though. For kitchen use, I have been leaning more carbon and less stainless lately. I have a few semi custom Strider knives made from S30V and they are like trying to sharpen a diamond. 
    Be careful, man! I've got a beverage here.
  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 11,131
    edited November 2012
    Nola, do you find your VG-10 hard to bring back from the dead? I have 6 or 8 VG-10 blades and they perform great in a field environment (rust resistance, edge retention ect..) They are a little harder to sharpen for me, though. For kitchen use, I have been leaning more carbon and less stainless lately. I have a few semi custom Strider knives made from S30V and they are like trying to sharpen a diamond. 
    No, but that's because I have a German made knock-off of the Tormek wet wheel sharpener.  I do notice a difference with AUS-8 and VG-10 alloy (I wish I had some S30V - scintillation alloy, right?).  It's a huge pain-in-the-ass to drag out this sharpener, dress the wheel true with the diamond dresser, measure the diameter, set the angle, add water, bla bla bla.  I really only cut a new edge about once a year.  The rest of the time I do a fine hone.  Mostly I use the steel. 

    I try to not be stupid and fold over an edge on a fine knife by trying to cut on a plate or through bone with a 17 degree edge.  I'm (obviously) not perfect - see crab note above.  But we do most of our knife work on wood.  I don't spend much time polishing either, I find a little roughness helps saw through stuff like tomatoes (maybe I'm just lazy).  I call my daily carry my "lucky stabbin' knife".  
    ______________________________________________
    This is my signature line just so you're not confused.
    Large and Medium BGE, two turntables and a microphone, my friend.
    New Orleans, LA - we know how to eat 

  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 11,131
    Let me add, when I just had my Spyerco sharpener, those bad-ass alloys SUCKED to sharpen.  The wet wheel is a brute force attack on removing metal.
    ______________________________________________
    This is my signature line just so you're not confused.
    Large and Medium BGE, two turntables and a microphone, my friend.
    New Orleans, LA - we know how to eat 

  • Let me add, when I just had my Spyerco sharpener, those bad-ass alloys SUCKED to sharpen.  The wet wheel is a brute force attack on removing metal.
    I have a huge S30V Strider and I tried to change the angle and relief edge with a Lanskey clamp and slide sharpner thingy. The metal was so hard, it ruined 3 of the stones. It totally wore a huge concave spot in them. 

    The good news is, It's now sharp as a razor at 20degrees. Thats steeper than I like on a tactical blade but I only use it for my emergency neck cutting blade. 
    Be careful, man! I've got a beverage here.
  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 11,131
    Total awesomeness.  The wet wheel just gets used up faster on the harder alloys.  It's harder than the hardest, but nofin' like diamond.

    Alright.  You suck.  Now I want a Strider.  Just looked at them.  And I've always wanted one of them high-tek mothers.  I hate you.
    ______________________________________________
    This is my signature line just so you're not confused.
    Large and Medium BGE, two turntables and a microphone, my friend.
    New Orleans, LA - we know how to eat 

  • LitLit Posts: 2,631

    I have never had any problem sharpening VG10 with stones. I sharpen all my friends shuns and I sharpen my shun Bob Kramer that is SG2 which is harder than the VG10. One of my friends tried to open a coconut with his 10" shun chef and messed up the blade pretty bad so I glued 600 gritbwet sand paper to a board and took about a 1/4" off it and redid the blade. The VG10 isn't really that hard of a metal all of my carbon blades are above 62 which is the hardest VG10 can get. The carbon on the 8" Tojiro that alot of people on the forum got is 65 hardness.

  • LitLit Posts: 2,631
    Good advice. 

    The Germans have a history and reputation for making good steel.  The Japanese now make the best knives.  High tech alloys are expensive, but you don't need them.  There are compromises when choosing the steel alloy in your knife.

    Harder alloys are more brittle, hold an edge longer and hare harder to sharpen.  The hardest alloys are too brittle to be used by themselves, so they're usually sandwiched between softer alloys.

    The carbon steel knives are a good compromise and excellent price/performance, but they need a dedicated owner.

    If people just sharpened their knives - kept them sharp, even cheap knives cut well.  I'd say if you're on a budget and want sharp knives, put more money into a good sharpening system rather than the knives, then buy individual knives based on your needs.  Most people go to two or three knives for all their cooking.

    I oddly don't see much on Chinese chef knives here, but they're excellent all purpose cooking knives - they're very versatile and the large flat is great for moving diced/chopped food, the back can tenderize, the flat can crush garlic and other foods.

    My go-to knives are my Shun chef knife (VG10 core) with a 17 degree edge, and my Wustof santoku.  I broke my Chinese Chef knife trying to use it like a cleaver to cut up frozen King crab (what an idiot!).

    Here's some good info on sharpening from wiki.

    Knife sharpening proceeds in several stages, in order from coarsest (most destructive) to finest (most delicate). These may be referred to either by the effect or by the tool. Naming by effect, the stages are:

    1. sharpening – removing metal to form a new edge
      1. rough sharpening (using either water stones, oil stones, or medium grits of sandpaper in the scary sharp method of sharpening)
      2. fine sharpening (using the same tools as above, but in finer grits)
    2. straightening – straightening the existing metal on the blade, but not removing significant quantities of metal
    3. polishing (also called stropping)– giving a mirror finish, but not significantly altering the edge.
      • polishing may also be achieved by buffing a blade: instead of moving the knife against a flat leather strop loaded with fine abrasive, the knife is held still and a powered circular cloth wheel is moved against the knife.

    Named by tools, the same three stages are:

    1. grinding (on a grinding wheel) or whetting (on a whetstone)
    2. steeling, using a honing steel
    3. stropping, on a razor strop or buffing on a wheel

    The word "honing" is ambiguous, and may refer to either fine sharpening (step 1.2) or straightening (step 2).

    The finest level of sharpening is done most frequently, while the coarser levels are done progressively more rarely, and sharpening methods differ between blades and applications.

    For example, a straight razor used for shaving is stropped before each use, and may be stropped part-way through use, while it will be fine sharpened on a stone a few times per year, and re-ground on a rough stone after several years.

    By contrast, a kitchen knife is steeled before or after each use (and may be steeled during heavy use, as by butchers), and sharpened on a stone a few times per year.

    Blade damage

    Blades are damaged primarily by buckling – compressive force, from being pressed into a hard object, such as bone, ice, or a hard cutting board – and by bending, from sideways pressure. Both of these tend to roll the edge of a blade, due to metal's ductile nature.

    Blades may also be damaged by being corroded by acid (as when cutting lemons or tomatoes) or by high temperatures and corrosive chemicals in a dishwasher.

    If a knife is used as a scraper, a pry-bar, or encounters hard particles in softer materials or fully, there may be a sideways load at the tip, causing bending damage.

    Blade damage is avoided by:

    • using an appropriate blade for the task – a thinner blade for more delicate work, and a thicker blade whenever a thinner blade is not required (e.g. a thinner blade might be used to cut fillets, butterfly steak or roast for stuffing, or perform Mukimono, while a thicker one might be used to slice or chop repeatedly, separate primal cuts of poultry or small game, or scrape and trim fat from meat or hide, as these actions would be more likely to cause unnecessary wear on a thinner blade.)
    • using a soft cutting surface,
    • straight cutting, with no side-to-side movement,
    • immediate cleaning.

    I love my CCK vegetable cleaver. The CCK knives are great and cheap and if you dont mind the stock handle this knife is $40. I upgraded the handle so it was $100 but a great knife.


     

  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 11,131
    Nice.  I have one of those scraper things in your pic too - they're excellent for picking up food and especially cleaning the cutting board table top.
    ______________________________________________
    This is my signature line just so you're not confused.
    Large and Medium BGE, two turntables and a microphone, my friend.
    New Orleans, LA - we know how to eat 

  • MikeGMikeG Posts: 174

    The CCK is fun to play with at first, then one starts to notice a strong sewer pipe smell whenever veg such as onions, tomatoes cabbage etc are worked on.  The steel is so reactive that these goods will even dull the edge through oxidation.  It's not a very hard steel either.

    If anyone wants to try one I'll mail my very sharp and little used one off to them (CONUS) for $30 just to get it out of the drawer.

    For veg work get you one of these http://www.chefknivestogo.com/ko24wa.html and strop it over a 5000 grit water stone once in a while and you'll be done spending $$ looking for a truly satisfying knife. 

     

  • LitLit Posts: 2,631
    I have never had an issue with my CCK cleaver reacting to any food and I have used it frequently over the past couple years. It has a 4.7 rating on chefknivestogo and has been a fun knife. It doesn't state what kind of carbon ot is made out of to check the hardness but mine stays very sharp. I do strop it down to 60000 grit though about once a month. Obviously its a $40 knife if it was my go to knife I would have went with a Takeda cleaver but I didn't want to spend $500.
  • MikeGMikeG Posts: 174

    You saying you don't get the sewer pipe smell?  Mine really stinks and I know it's a common complaint with these regardless of the reviews.  

    Reviews at CKTG are starting to become suspect - they haven't posted new reviews in some time. 

  • LitLit Posts: 2,631
    I haven't noticed any smell from it but I will pay attention now. I have left reviews on CKTG and they dont show up until they are approved so someone is screening them for sure.
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