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Need some suggestions for good kitchen knives.

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Dome Vongvises, Jul 4, 2005.

  1. Dome Vongvises

    Dome Vongvises Lead Actor

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    I'm looking to get some good, quality kitchen knives. Every time I watch a cooking show, they always seem to chop things like a hot knife through butter. No matter how much I sharpen my knives, they can never replicate that feat.

    Are there particular brands I should look for? I'm looking at some chef and santoku knives right now.
     
  2. Brian Perry

    Brian Perry Cinematographer

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    I'd say it comes down to a preference of German vs. Japanese. The German brands (Henckels and Wusthof are the best) are heavier and will sharpen more easily because the steel is softer. The Japanese brands (Global, Shun, etc.) are much thinner and sharper out of the box, but are a bit harder to sharpen because the metal is harder.

    I'd recommend three knives to start:

    8" chef's (10" if you think you can handle the size)
    4" paring
    6" flexible boning

    These will handle 90% of all your cutting needs. The santoku has become popular, and is a good multi-function knife.
     
  3. Dave Poehlman

    Dave Poehlman Producer

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    I bought one of these with our Wusthof santoku knife:

    [​IMG]

    Just run your blades through a few times before you put them back in the drawer and they stay razor sharp.
     
  4. Michael Harris

    Michael Harris Screenwriter

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    A couple of things to look for:

    1. Make sure the knife is balanced. This will make it very comfortable to work with.

    2. Full tang construction.

    The brands mentioned above are great and I'd love to be able to purchase them but in the meantime, I've been using a set by Chicago Cutlery. I've had them for about 10 years and have really proved themselves, especially when I consider the relative low price I paid for them.

    I have a similar device to the one shown above and that, along with a good sharpening steel, should give your knives long life.
     
  5. Garrett Lundy

    Garrett Lundy Producer

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    Outside of a cleaver, I can't see how having a full tang would be of any real value in a kitchen knife. I have never had a blade loosen in its handle, even on knives used for years in professional kitchen.

    And the basic law of knives:

    No Stainless steel knife will sharpen or retain an edge as well as a carbon-steel knife. A stainless knife will not discolour like a CS knife. But the discoleration won't kill you anyway, it just looks bad to people who've never used CS before, But boy will they carve.
     
  6. Philip_G

    Philip_G Producer

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    last fall they came out with the wusthof grand prix II series, I got a grand prix 5pc set on ebay for 80 bucks!

    I've added a few, but have a 6" chef's, an 8" carving, 4" paring (2 of them) and a little utility or sandwhich knife, oh and the kitchen shears which I use more than anything.
     
  7. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    I've always used Henckels, but Wustoff is good also. However, Garrett is correct in saying that carbon steel is better than any stainless. My brother owns a 20+ year old set of Chicago Cutlery carbon steels and they are great.

    The best advice is to take care of your knives. Never in the dishwasher, always use a steel (every time I take it out of the block, I run a steel over mine) and if they dull so much they won't "true" using a steel, take them to a professional sharpener. You will think you bought a new knife.

    Also, if you are looking for a status symbol that is also a hell of a good bunch of knives, Viking now makes a set that is around $550 for a block. A little expensive (I paid 300 for my Henckel's and they were the top of the line), but oh what a knife.
     
  8. EugeneR

    EugeneR Second Unit

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    If you don't care about a status symbol but want great knives for a great price, look at JCPenney "Cook's cutlery" knives. Quality carbon steel, full tang construction, forged, well balanced. Beautiful knives, every bit as good as my Henckels. Their regular prices are close to Henckels too, but they will often have great deals on them. I got a 7" Santoku and a pairing knife for about $17.00.
     
  9. Dustin B

    Dustin B Producer

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    I believe the full tang often has more to do with balancing the knife than handle strength.

    I love my Wusthof set. Bought more than I'll ever need, but if I take care of them (which I have been so far) I expect to get many decades of use out of them.

    I ordered from http://www.knivesandtools.com. They have good prices and 3 day express shipping gets ridiculously cheap once you have a few higher end knives on your order.

    I'd recommend the Spyderco Triangle Sharp Maker for sharpening. Add a couple of the coarse diamond hones to it and you can take a knife from horrible shape to a very sharp edge in less than 15 minutes. I can still split a grape by dropping it from 8-10" above the blade maintaining the edge with this tool.

    Here's my set in the custom block I made for them.

    http://dustin.bunnyhug.net/pics/foru...e/PICT0004.JPG

    As far as decent dirt cheap knifes go, the Victorinox stuff at the site above are pretty good. Take a great edge, just doesn't last as long as my Wusthof and not anywhere near as well balanced.
     
  10. Philip_G

    Philip_G Producer

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    You're far better off with a crok stik or the spyderco version above. The problem with the steel is you're varying the angle each pass, it's much easier to hold hte knife vertically than judge and maintain a 30 degree angle.
     
  11. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Executive Producer
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    Hmm...no mentions of Cutco, which may be the Bose of knives? I'm not a heavy user, but I've been pleased with what I got, though I'm pretty sure I overpaid when I look at prices on Henckels. Fortunately I didn't sink a lot of money into a set, so if I decide to go that route I'll take suggestions made here.

    https://www.cutco.com/jsp/home.jsp
     
  12. Michael Harris

    Michael Harris Screenwriter

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    Exactly. I should have mentioned that since balance was my first point.
     
  13. Adam_S

    Adam_S Producer

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    Chicago Cutlery is the entry level of high quality kitchen knives. I got a forged set a couple years ago and they've worked wonders for me, getting them at a factory outlet mall made the price even better. [​IMG][​IMG]. My only complaint is that I knicked an eighth inch chunk out of my chef's knife opening a young coconut (this is after opening several dozen coconuts over its lifetime, but I'd weakened that bit of the blade and hadn't paid attention to the nick that was getting all the pressure).

    you need one or two parings knifes, at least get one with a 3.5 inch blade. If you do much handling of small pieces of meat (chicken breasts, pork chops, steaks etc) make sure you have a 5-7 inch filet style knife. A chef's knife works wonders for chopping up vegetables. Just make sure you know to keep the blade on the cutting board and rock down to cut, rather than lifting and chopping each time (had to explain this to many roomates).

    I'd recommend getting forged steel knives as well. Full tang of course, but if you're at least starting with Chicago Cutlery, that's pretty much standard in the knives from that level up. Forged steel will hold up better than a simple stamped-and-pressed blade.

    The tip top of the high end of knifes is Damascus steel, which is steel folded over and again on itself in the forging for unparalleled quality you'll know it by the wavy pattern on the blade, and the high cost. Paring knifes of this go for about 85$ at William Sonaoma.

    The other brands mentioned here, Henckles and Wusthof are all outstanding knifes and will last you a lifetime.

    Cutco is another way to go, they've got a great service plan and a product they certainly sell the hell out of. But you can equal or better it with other brands if you want to shell out that much money.
     
  14. andrew markworthy

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    Well, my wife has never complained. [​IMG]

    The standard recommendation over this side of the herring pond is Sabatier (though be warned that they come in several grades). I've had a set for 15 years and they're still going great guns. My father has an even better set (but at a £100 per knife - note pounds, not dollars - it should be).

    If you want good kitchen knives, the best bet is to track down a professional suppliers - and above all else don't buy without handling them; what suits one person won't necessarily suit another.

    I'd agree with Brian's selection, but add on a bread knife as one of your essential items. Not only is is essential for bread, it can also be handy when carving some kinds of meat. The next thing you need is a meat cleaver if you do a lot of serious cookery. If you can get used to it (and I take no responsibility for cuts/severed arteries [​IMG]) a chinese cleaver with a curved blade for cutting with a rocking motion is also recommended.
     
  15. Kirk Gunn

    Kirk Gunn Screenwriter

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    Anyone ever use or seen good deals on Global knives ? My gourmet neighbor swears by them....
     
  16. ClintS

    ClintS Stunt Coordinator

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    Cook's Illustrated magazine reviews knives all the time. The full tang Forschner knives seem to consistently review very well and have an attractive price tag compared to Henckel's and Wustof. I use a set of Henckel Pro S knives and have been very pleased with them.

    You should go to a cooking store and hold a few of the different brands/styles in your hand, each person is different and you may prefer one design over the other. The buying advice above is good, look for full tang forged knives. Oh and I wash mine in the dishwasher all the time without detriment to the blade or handle's. I do use a sharpening steel prior to each use.
     
  17. Julian Reville

    Julian Reville Screenwriter

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    While at home I use a set of Wilkinson, I must put in a further plug for Chicago Cutlery.

    21 years ago, my classmates and I were all required to buy an inexpensive Chicago Cutlery knife: it has an 8" blade, gently curved, and a cheap plastic molded handle. The blade takes a razor like edge. Mine is still just as good today as the day I bought it for large animal necropsy. It's also good for slicing peaches.
     
  18. andrew markworthy

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    My wife has an anatomy degree and is brilliant at carving up joints, chicken, etc. I just try to forget what she practised on in order to get so good.
     
  19. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Executive Producer
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    So what's the caretaking routine for carbon steel knives? Do they need to be oiled somehow or towel dried after washing?
     
  20. Julian Reville

    Julian Reville Screenwriter

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    Andrew, whatever you do, do NOT piss this woman off. We would never find the body.
     

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