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Kitchen Knife Survey


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I don't consider myself a master chef but I do cook a lot for family and friends so use kitchen knives regularly. When my wife and I were newly married 25 years ago, I bought a set of JA Henckels, which have lasted quite well in most sizes. Unfortunately, between a couple of tip breaks and repeated sharpening, the 6 inch chef's knife is about gone (now measures just under 4") so I went shopping tonight and the same blade is now $80 at Linens and Things, which is the closest thing we have to a cutlery store. Chicago Cutlery is cheaper but I have owned a couple of them and was totally unimpressed so am not interested unless they have gotten MUCH better...

My question is: What do any of you who are serious cooks (or married to one) use for kitchen knives? I'll spend the money on a Henckels but I know a lot of the cost is for the name so would try something else on a recommendation.

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HOLLIS-- Ole Pard--Go to Admiral Steel. Order some O1 in 1/16" thickness and make your own. Using the Wedding blades for patterns.

You can make just as good a knife as Heinkels. Proflie your blade and and go ahead and heat-treat it. Then with a slack bucket right beside you, grind/sand the edge into it. Dunking it in the water after every pass. Don't color the steel at all.

Drill for pin holes before hardening. Use good epoxy on everything holes, pins, steel and wood. wipe off excess and clamp it up. Grind the handle accept your hugs.Grin.


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Here at the house, I use Henckels 4-stars, but they're as much for braggin's rights as for using. Without a diamond lap they're a pain in the tail to get really sharp, and they don't hold an edge nearly as well as my really old Henckels high-carbon blades. I *do* use a diamond lap, so sharpening is pretty quick.

When I owned the bar/restaurant, I bought Dexter-Russell knives for the kitchen staff. They hold up really well, take and hold an edge just fine and are about one fourth the price of Henckels cheapest models. You can find them, and a bunch of other good brands, at Superior Products, a restaurant supply I dealt with.

If you feel that you just have to spend more, R. H. Forschner and Wusthof-Trident are good knives, too. (grin)


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I see I got beat to the keyboard in regards to the Ontario Knife Co "Old Hickory" line...

I have like 25 of them in all sizes and well, back when I use to do all that catering I sure loved using them..Granted they are 1095 so they do turn colour but who cares?? Keep them clean and dry and they will last forever..I still have three of the original knives my Papuli had when he opened up the nightclub back in the 1950's and they are still cutting today.

Hard to beat a knife for $8.00 that will out cut knives that cost 10x as much....sure, they aren't as fancy or as "pretty to the eye" as some..but hey...same goes for me so...

To be 100% honest, it was the "Old Hickory" knives that got me hooked on 1095 as a knife steel back in the 1960's when I started doing this stuff....


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Much obliged for your answers. I was hoping we had some chefs or restaurant owners here so I appreciate the brand names and will definitely try an Old Hickory since blade discoloration means nil to me. Chuck, I might try to make one at some point but in reality, I only need a 6" chefs knife - the rest of my collection is in fine shape. Rich, I have a couple of Wusthof paring knives that were given to me as gifts one Christmas. They are good blades and have seen much use but I don't think I'd spend the money on myself when it sounds like there are other fine choices.

I raised four sons who are now grown and have girlfriends/future wives around so I often cook for the multitudes. It helps to have the right tools. Thanks again...H

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Alright, I am not a chef or restaurant owner but, I do enjoy cooking and make knives for fun. That's right I'm certifiable! Seriously, all kidding aside, I am not a fan of the big name, branded, kitchen knives like Wusthof or Henckels. I have used them but, was never satisfied. My personal preference is for non-stainless steels but, this may or may not work for you and the way you do things. The only company I know of that still makes non-stainless kitchen knives commercialy is "Old Hickory." Wait, some Japanese cutlery is available as well but, it is pricey. I have one stainless, 8" utility knife made by Tramontina that is quite good. The knives are made in Brazil but, Tramontina is an Italian company, they are about half the price of Henckels, just check them all over when you purchase and get the straight one! There are many stainless kitchen knives that are quite high quality if you are willing to spend a bit more than you would for the Henckels. Al-Mar has a pretty decent set for the money, link is below, look at the "chef knives." I have been eyeing the "ultra-chef knives" by Al-Mar on the same page, my wife has issues with not cleaning cutlery immediately after use, these seem like they would offer the performance I am after and still resist her efforts to destroy my cutlery. That, and they look impressive!


One last thing, if using stainless cutlery it is silly to not invest in a good set of diamond hones. The carbides that form in stainless steels are just as hard or harder than aluminum oxide or silicon carbide abrasives. The Al-Mar knives I provided the link to will definitely require diamonds to get them sharp, without they will seem to just never quite get to that tomato slicing edge.

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I'll throw my opinions out there, First I can't forge a knife yet( realy admire those who do) but I've worked with them for 25 plus years in my kitchens and i can tell you what works for me.
Henckles, F.Dick, R. H. Forschner, Victorinox, Gustav Emil Ern and Wusthof-Trident, then the awesome japenese knives, Misono & Bunmei that are priced high but are incredible quality. Having used or owned each of these, All excellent and Everyone has great proffesional knives but also at other varied levels of quality, some at huge prices. The price is not always worth the name with some. Gustav, older Wusthof & Foschner are my favotites.
I think every kitchen I have ever been in has had dexter-russell knives and they, in general, are the best bang for the buck in a commercial setting. And might be a great choice for good durable cutlery at home. I checked some of the knives guys mentioned earlier all look good as well

For me a bigger first question is who will use and care for the knife. Do I want wood or Plastic handle...etc , both good just different care levels. In my kitckens I use high carbon in the Bosses Joint (my wifes Kitchen home) I purchased a Wolfgang Puck set for her, lower carbon content holds a pretty good edge still doesnt go in the dish washer, but needs less care & attention than my work knives. I went with the japenese style blade with the tip more rounded or blunt, can't remember the name of the style, they work fantastic and were cheap on "HSN" or one of those tv shows. She loves them and feels like a champ useing them.

As for sharpening or trueing a good knife, a diamond lap will remove metal to sharpen and shorten the life of the knife which is a neccesarry evil when you have stainless knives, were as a "steel" on a higher carbon knife will true an edge with out stock loss. pushes the fibers of metal back to an edge. that is why you see chefs or butchers working a knife on a steel as they work.
An oval diamond dust steel works very well also, for a truely sharp edge with out as much stock loss, sorta middle of the road type sharpening/trueing
A ceramic steel is also a neat thing to use and gives a finishing razor sharp edge. The diamond dust steel is my favorite day in day out!

Jb Prince is a great Chefs joint that sells in NY store front or on the Web

I dont know if you are close to a Chef Central we have one here and they send out great coupons and have good sales on cutlery, they also have great web specials on cutlery and classes.

We have a "Resturant Depot" here for purchasing food and kitchen supplies. If you have one local and if you know some one with a card they can take you in, ask one of the local chefs they are more than happy to help a guy out and you can get great deals on dexter-russell and other pro quality cutlery.

Sorry this is so long winded but it is a subject I enjoy. Cooking is a real Passion for me, Has been since I was a kid.
I don't know if this helped but if I can help you drop me a note. I have kitchens in NJ as well as the stores I mentioned near me and would be glad to hook you up around here. Always willing to help out an other Budding Chef!(Grin)

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HW. I notice you are quick to quote the price of the new knife but fail to mention the price of the old one which leads me to add to the pot an addage I live by albeit with a struggle at times justifying the purchase of a new 'toy' with she who must be obeyed.

"The quality remains long after the price is forgotten"

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Well, I just couldn't pass this up. I'm firmly in the Old Hickory camp, so to speak. I have about a dozen of them, from the paring knife to the butcher, to the skinner. Some almost 100 years old and still good tools. An Old hickory and a whetstone and you can cut almost anything. They take a better edge than any SS knife even if you do have to sharpen them every now and again. All the high priced foreign and fancy brands can go somewhere else. When you want a knife in the kitchen, Old Hickory is the ticket.

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