If you love your knives, please share

kaylSeptember 21, 2010

I would have thought I could find a previous post on this, but didn't find anything in the search. Does anyone have a knife set that they love & would recommend? Also, if you have a knife manufacturer that we should stay away from please share. Thanks!

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Recently purchased a Shun Classic chef's knife and paring knife. Unbelievable difference from my Wusthoff knives (which were recently sharpened.)

It bears mentioning, that handles play a big part in the appeal when it comes to knives - and each person's hand will fit different knives. I'd recommend holding a few prior to committing.

Here is a link that might be useful: cookware.com - Shun Classic Series

    Bookmark   September 21, 2010 at 5:26PM
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i_m_fletcher, can you share whether the Shuns hold a sharp edge better or worse than your Wusthoffs? I have been considering buying a few good quality knives since I do quite a bit of vegetable cutting when I cook. Thanks for sharing.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2010 at 6:02PM
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Here is the best bang for the buck as far as kitchen knife sets go.

Get a set of Victorinox Forschner Fibrox knives, such as the set below. Or choose a set that has the specific knives you want.

Victorinox is a Swiss company, one of the ''Swiss Army'' licensees. Forschner is a German company. ''Victorinox Forschner'' knives are made in Germany or Switzerland. Not China, Spain, Brazil, or Taiwan.

The ''Fibrox'' signifies the line with stamped steel blades and non-slip plastic handles. These are what you will frequently see in restaurants, butchers, and other professional food service use. The next most common knife there will have white handles, they are made by Dexter in the US. Forschner also make a line with forged blades and wood handles, that are much more expensive, not any great value.

I like the Fibrox knives because they are high quality, inexpensive, with slim light blades, and very good handles. I like them better than my more expensive knives. Cooks Illustrated usually rates them their favorite or best buy choice, in knife tests. An 8'' Fibrox chefs is about $30. You won't find a fancy-name knife (Henckels, Wusthof, etc) for under $100 that is as good (they'll usually be the low-end line made in China or the slightly better line made in Spain) and will seldom find one for $100-150 that is appreciably better.

When picking the set, avoid ones with multiple redundant little knives. The 3'' paring, 4'' utility, 5'' slicer, etc. In addition to pointless duplication, kitchen knife ''sets'' for consumers have knives that are too small - a 6'' chefs for instance. Big knives let you cut meat in smooth strokes without lots of mincing sawing. A good set for most would be 8'' or (better) 10'' chefs, 10'' slicer, 4'' paring/utility, 8'' serrated bread, and a 6'' boning knife if you do a lot of meat. A honing steel. And that's it - the other thing that most knife sets have is too many knives. This set might cost $170 in Forschner Fibrox, substantially less if you don't need the block. That's not even two fancy-name knives (excluding their China-made lines).

The best knife will eventually become useless as it dulls. No knife stays really sharp for very long under heavy daily use. Some people will say their XYZ knife stayed sharp for a year of daily use, but they don't know what ''sharp'' is. A dull $500 knife is worse than a sharp $20 knife. So the sharpening is quite vital. If you don't sharpen your knives with whetstones, then get a Chefs Choice 1520 electric sharpener or similar. About $170. That model will do either 15 degree or 20 degree angle. An Asian or quasi-Asian knife (like a Shun) will have a 15 degree edge, a Western knife (Wusthof, Forschner, etc) will have 20 degrees normally. I sharpen all my knives to 15 degrees. Sharpening services cost like $1 per foot, and they may do a crappy job.

The honing steel, by the way, is not a sharpener. It only straightens an edge that is still sharp. It has to be used gently, and not on a dull knife. I've looked at this under a microscope. If you take a dull edge and apply the steel vigorously, you are not sharpening the edge. You are only tearing the edge into microscopic jagged pieces, that will saw sort of effectively through meat for a short time until they are torn off and the edge is ineffective again.

Here is a link that might be useful: Example Set

    Bookmark   September 21, 2010 at 7:15PM
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I have a small set of Global knives. I LOVE them. Well balanced, easy to clean, easy to sharpen, etc. etc.

Here is a link that might be useful: global knife site

    Bookmark   September 21, 2010 at 7:29PM
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I've had Wusthof, Henckels and even bought a Shun knife which I wish I loved more. They're all ok.

But on impulse I bought a colorful paring knife -- on sale -- and I'm just crazy about it. It holds the edge wonderfully, it's lightweight, inexpensive and comes with a blade cover which is a big plus.

Swiss made. The link has the paring knife and knife sets that aren't an investment.

Here is a link that might be useful: Kuhn Rikon

    Bookmark   September 21, 2010 at 7:41PM
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I bought my husband a Shun santoku knife last year for Christmas at knifemerchant.com, and the whole family has loved using it. Our regular set are Gerbers, made in Germany and bought for me by my parents 25 years ago after my college graduation.

The Shun, the 7" santoku Damascus clad, (#DM0702) was on sale at the time for $79.95, but I see it's now $119.95. It might be worthwhile waiting until closer to the holidays for sale prices. I'm going to see if I can add to our set then, because we're a family of five all trying to share one knife : ).

Knifemerchant.com also has a good selection of German, Swiss, and English kitchen knives. I was very pleased with their service -- think I heard about them from Chowhound or Serious Easts...


Here is a link that might be useful: Shun 7'' Santuko, Damascus Clad

    Bookmark   September 21, 2010 at 7:46PM
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I have a mix of brands, but one thing I've learned, is that just a few will do ya. Don't buy a set of knives; it's a waste of money and space. I have whittled (ha!) my knife collection down to 4: a paring knife, a bread knife, a chef's knife and a boning knife. That's it. I don't find the need for any others. Though I do have an extra paring knife and chef's knife for when DH helps prepare something. My favorite of the 4 knives, the one I use most, is the boning knife, strangely enough. I don't bone things very much, LOL; I use the boning knife for just about everything, from slicing fruit, to slicing a sandwich, and occasionally, boning. The blade is narrow, slices through anything, and is a nice length. Often I find my paring knife too small, my chef's knife too big, but the boning knife is just right. I also want to echo Johnliu's post. The boning knife I use for everything is the Victorinox Fibrox #40513. I've had it for 3 years. It stays ultra sharp, though I do use a sharpening steel occasionally. I love the grippy handle. I can't even believe the price.

My bread knife is also a Victorinox. It's the #40040, 10" long, serrated, and a great length and weight for slicing through bread, as well as through pot roast, ham and the like.

My Chef's knife is a Wusthof. I paid a lot for it, and I like it. I like the heavy sturdy feel of it when I am cutting a slippery chicken in half--the weight prevents slippage. When chopping vegetables. I like the slight curve of it, which helps when chopping, because you can do a "rocking" motion on the cutting board. Wusthof's biggest competitor is Henckels. I just don't like the Henckels. I don't feel they're made as well as the Wusthofs, yet are priced similarly.

One thing you MUST do, is go to stores and pick up various knives yourself. Don't just rely on our feedback. Everyone's hands are different, and their styles and preferences are different. E.g. I like a heavy-weight german Chef's Knife like the Wusthof. Others like a more stream-lined elegant Japanese knife like the Shun or Global. You won't know until you pick them up in your hand to see which feels best to you.

Here is a link that might be useful: Victorinox Fibrox Boning Knife 40513

    Bookmark   September 21, 2010 at 8:36PM
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I received a set of Henckels for my 10year anniversary working at my company. I love them. I got to trade in a mismatch of very old knives accumulated over the years. They were free!! yes! and came in a nice set with a storage block to hold them. They are probably a 'discounted' set but they work great for everything I need to cut and chop in the kitchen. Used to have a set of Sabatiers 30 years ago when I started culinary institute... however not sure if they even make them any more.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2010 at 8:38PM
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I wanted to add to my previous post a note about sharpening, which Johnliu also mentioned. The OP mentioned being concerned that a knife stay sharp. I do use a sharpening steel, which actually is not sharpening, but is aligning the edge and thereby reducing drag. Think of tiny teeth going out of alignment, and a sharpening steel putting them back in alignment. This is a short-term fix. ANY knife, even the $500 ones, if used a lot, will need true sharpening after a time. Once a year I take my knives to a place that does professional knife sharpening. It's not expensive at all. If you don't have a place like that near you, you may find your local butcher will do it. Or there are places you can mail your knives, they'll sharpen them, and mail them back to you.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2010 at 8:48PM
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I have an old Chicago Cutlery set and have recently found a second set at an estate sale. This one has a very large wide long blade style, which I've never owned before. I very much enjoy this knife. I use it for all kinds of things.

I own quite a few knives, but they're almost all used at one time or another. I've decided to buy some redundant paring knives for use at the two ends of my larger kitchen. Have also begun to think that I'm going to move our two long serrated knives to the work zone next to the refrig. where we make sandwiches, etc.

I use a long, strong knife for chopping nuts, etc.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2010 at 9:43PM
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My block has a mixture of knives in it, but most are Wusthof. All are forged knives, except for a serrated Wusthof stamped knife that I use for tomtatoes and slicing the tops off garlic heads that I'm going to roast, and a Forschner stamped large filet knife that I've been cleaning fish with for more than 20 years.

If I could have only one knife, it would by my 10 inch Wusthof extra wide chef's knife. I have large hands, and it's just perfect for them.

I have a couple of less-expensive Tramontina paring knives that take and hold a sharp edge better than my little Henckels, and a 12 inch carving knife from LamsonSharp that is like a big razor.

My wife finds my 10 inch wide chef's knife too heavy, but she can manage the eight inch version of it (also with the wide blade) just fine, and she occasionally uses the little six inch chef's knife for small chopping tasks.

After trying a series of cheap, marginally effective sharpeners, I bought one of Ben Dale's Edge Pro sharpeners. Once your knives are sharp, a little touching up with a ceramic hone is all that's required to keep them that way, unless you use them really heavily, in which case they'll need re-sharpening.

Shannonplus2 is right as rain - find a knife (knives) that feels good in your hand. If the steel is good, you're onto a genuine pleasure!

    Bookmark   September 21, 2010 at 9:45PM
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Be geeky!

Dull knife. Been steeled but edge is too far gone. This is a Henckels, German-made, bought in 1988?

After medium stone. I sharpen by hand on oilstones.

After fine stone. These are not fancy or exotic stones. Think it was bought 25 years ago in a knife shop.

After very light steeling, just to clean things up.

And, since someone's got to mention these - tossing a knife into the sink or letting it rattle around loose in a drawer will dull it in no time, and eventually get someone cut. Putting a knife in the dishwasher is bad for the plastic handle (not really meant to be heated repeatedly) and, over time, the edge (dishwashing detergents are harsh). Cutting on glass, plates, or stone will rapidly dull the edge. Finally, the only thing more dangerous than sharp knives are dull knives, be careful and make your left hand learn those good cutting habits . . .

    Bookmark   September 21, 2010 at 9:58PM
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I love my Shun, but the one-sided angled blade is a little awkward since I am left handed. My other knives are Messermeister and I've had them 15 years, love them to pieces. If I had to buy again, though, I would definitely give the Fibrox a try.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2010 at 10:50PM
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Yeah, JohnLiu!!!!!

I love my knives, but it's too personal to choose what someone else likes. Start with the top quality lines you can afford, and choose one based on size, shape of blade, balance, comfort in your hand, etc. If YOU like it, it's the right knife for you.

Then learn to sharpen it with a stone, and care for it the way Johnliu said. No cutting on hard surfaces! Wood is the best, and is naturally anti-microbial. Someone posted a study here a couple of years ago that found more bacteria on a cleaned plastic board, than a wood one. If you're going to put it in the dishwasher, use one of the soft, textured plastics, rather than the hard resin ones.

My 8" chef's knife feels perfect in my hand. I often don't bother with a paring knife if I just need a couple of small cuts because I can do them just as easily with my big knife. My previous, equally "good" one was meant for a bigger hand. I keep it for men. They like it. :)

Fit it to your hand and the way you prep.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2010 at 11:12PM
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i just sprung for a ken onion shun santoku and it is unbelievable. i intend to purchase more (they're a bit pricey so i need to take time and choose carefully) but first i intend to enroll in a basic knife skills course. these knives will take off a finger so easily you won't realize it's gone until you look down. i know this from experience.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2010 at 12:43AM
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I second the Global Knives. Absolutely the best I have ever used. Worth every penny.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2010 at 7:30AM
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I'd be interested in hearing from folks with both forged Wusthoff and Shun, if the Shun holds an edge longer?

My forged Wusthoff doesn't hold an edge as long as I would like. Of course it could be my expectations are too high, too.

I'm not all that crazy about the Shun handles - I prefer an ergonomic shape, but I've heard good things about the steel.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2010 at 10:07AM
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i love, love, love my Cutco knives. I think they are canadian, but i believe that are available for sale in the US as well. I have used both Henkel and Wusthof, and still prefer Cutco's. Here is the link:

Here is a link that might be useful: CUTCO

    Bookmark   September 22, 2010 at 10:31AM
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I live with a Knife Geek.

We have a little bit of everything, but our favorites seem to be the very old, high-carbon steel Sabatiers, the Victorinox santokus and the $10 steel cleaver from the Asian grocery. I also love the little L'Econome paring knives with the colorful wood handles.

Selecting knives is very personal. I test drove the Shuns and they just don't feel right to me. I am also short and like a lighter knife for some reason.

Whatever you do, you must read....

Here is a link that might be useful: ...this book.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2010 at 1:03PM
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Love the balance of my forged Wusthoff knives, they have been great, one piece of metal from tip to the back of the handle. (Some may be surprised by what is actually inside of their German forged knives, or more exact, what isn't...)

Also, love the Chef's Choice knives by Edgecraft. Absolutely exceptional quality, hold their edge, and made right here in the USA (actually quite close to me).

    Bookmark   September 22, 2010 at 1:52PM
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I have two Sabatiers, which suit me in weight and size very well: A chef's knife and a smaller knife. Mostly I use the chef's knife. Recently acquired a Wusthof chef's knife which is also good, but heavier. Mixture of paring knives - in constant use, so there's half a dozen. DH has even been known to use the Laguiole steak knives as paring knives . .

The big knives and the bread knife all have plastic Wusthof sheaths, bought for about $2 - $4 each at the hardware store. Protects them in the drawer perfectly. I don't like knife blocks: take up too much space, and I think blunt the knife edges over time.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2010 at 4:22PM
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ken onion shun with a pistol grip. Now, don't laugh, but its the 5 inch one.

I use it for just about everything. Its far and away the best knife I've ever had.

I also have 2 8" chef's knives of the sort Johnliu described, two small paring knives, a slicer and a bread slicer of indeterminate brands. We use the slicer some, but the others less than once a month.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2010 at 4:49PM
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I agree that as far as knives go, it is very subjective. That being said...

I have a few Global knives, and I really like them.

I like the one Shun Classic 10" chef's knife I have even more because of its weight.

My absolute favorites are my Misono UX10s.

Here is a link that might be useful: Misono UX10

    Bookmark   September 22, 2010 at 9:15PM
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A paring knife, one chef's knife, a serrated knife (for bread), some steak knives and a sharpener will do everything that needs to be done in the kitchen and dining table.Your best bet is to get high quality Stainless Steel Knives Get good, durable ones and you'll be pretty much set for life. I like the my chicago ones coz they are pretty cheap for the quality.

Here is a link that might be useful: Stainless Steel Knives

    Bookmark   November 13, 2010 at 7:15AM
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I second the Misono UX10. I have a right handed 8.2" and it's my go-to knife. This one did not get the most coveted ratings by the folks on Knife Forums, but it has been the best of my knife wardrobe for my hand and needs. It holds an edge extremely well. I ordered mine from Japanese Knives to Go. It's several years old. Again, as others have advised, do check out the ones you are considering in your own hand.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2010 at 7:36AM
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Talk about "knife geeks". . .
I watched Mammoth last night, and the only thing that interested me about the entire film was the wall of kitchen knives in the New York apartment. I'm fairly certain I glimpsed a Kramer.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2010 at 7:54AM
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OK the one thing that has not been mentioned in the open fully is ...how many do you need? One poster did say not to get too many small knives.

My point of view with our redone kitchen and having people help in the kitchen is that people can't help if they don't have the tools.

So if you are remodeling the kitchen to have more room for more people, and you still only have 1 paring and 1 chefs knife, then you have made it impossible for anyone to help you with prep.

I have found that we like to have 2 regular paring knives, 1 longer paring knife, and 2 chefs knives. This is enough for 2-4 people to prep together.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2010 at 8:15AM
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I like my ten year old Chicago Cutlery knives, keep them in a Wustoff knife block mostly because I like the way it looks, have never sharpened them, throw them in the sink, wash them in the dishwasher, and use them daily on plates and they still work fine. I am probably the opposite of a knife geek because the ones I use the most are the set of eight steak knives. I use them to cut onions, garlic, meat, everything. The only time I use the large one is when we have a roast or a whole chicken. I know, I'm hopelessly uncool when it comes to knife usage etiquette, but it works for me and they look fabulous in their big knife block.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2010 at 8:59AM
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Just a note that I believe that Irenekay's post above, which resurrected this two-month-old thread, is spam. She signed up the same day of her post, provided two links to the same website, and her message says the opposite of her link. Irenekay, if you are not posting spam, I apologize, but your post gives all indications of spam.

Juliekcmo - my first post above (I think it's about the 8th post) did discuss limiting the number of knives to just a few that are necessary (and providing a couple of duplicates for SO's). I am glad that part of the theme of this thread has been to advise not to get full sets of knives, since you don't need so many, those sets are expensive, and typically come with knives you will rarely, if ever, use. As an aside, I feel the same way about cookware sets!

    Bookmark   November 13, 2010 at 10:01AM
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Favorite knives for taking and holding an edge: Henckels 4-star and a hand made Japanese knife I bought from Japan Woodworker years ago. Forged blades, great steel- the Japanese knife is extraordinarily good steel.

Favorite every day knives: Tramontina restaurant supply type knives I bought at Sam's Club; white handles, stamped blades but they take and hold an edge pretty good and were so inexpensive.

First learn how to sharpen your knives either on a stone or with a good manual device. Diamond abrasives are the best, imo. That way you get a feel for what metal is good and what is junk.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2011 at 11:22PM
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