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Old 11-06-2009, 08:58 PM   #1
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Default Who's an expert on cutlery?

well for xmas i'm going to be buying us at least a starter set of nice knives. We've got really nice yamazaki flatware so i'd like a knife set and steak knives to go along with them. Neither of us are really experienced in the kitchen but sometimes it's fun to mess around. right now we're using junk that was given to us but i'd like to upgrade to a nice set. Something that will last my lifetime. Now the research i've done says that most people really only need 3 good knives, but i'd like a nicely populated block with a set of steak knives. So here's my deal, do i go ahead a get complete ~$300 set that's decent or do i buy a block and start small and slowly add on for a much more expesive set? I'm towards getting a big block and starting small and adding on, primarliy looking at the german brands of wusthof and j.a. henckels with a ~22-25 slot block. i don't like to buy junk twice, am i nuts? thoughts?
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Old 11-06-2009, 09:45 PM   #2
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I splurged on a set of Shun Classic series with a block. They're phenomenal knives. Everything you wished you had 10 years ago when you had that crappy stamped steel BS.

You practically rest the weight of a knife on a ripe tomato and it cuts into the skin.

I like them for the narrower-than-normal sharpened edge (16 degrees vs. the standard 25 per side).

Global also makes great knives. but really it comes down to what you like. pick them up and hold them and check the balance.

And dont expect to get a deal. good knives are $100 each give or take.
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Old 11-06-2009, 10:55 PM   #3
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I splurged on a set of Shun Classic series with a block. They're phenomenal knives. Everything you wished you had 10 years ago when you had that crappy stamped steel BS.

You practically rest the weight of a knife on a ripe tomato and it cuts into the skin.

I like them for the narrower-than-normal sharpened edge (16 degrees vs. the standard 25 per side).

Global also makes great knives. but really it comes down to what you like. pick them up and hold them and check the balance.

And dont expect to get a deal. good knives are $100 each give or take.
thanks for the input, at least you didn't say i was nuts. And yes do i realize the price which is why i was thinking starting with a block and a small set and adding as i go. I can't justify a 1k set right now. I see you went japanese, their styling just isn't my thing which is why i was going german.
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Old 11-06-2009, 11:23 PM   #4
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Shun is the best, calphalon amd heinkels are great, and there are a few decent brands. I abused my $35 sysco brand 8" chef knife for two years and have neglected to do anything but hone it for three years now. It's still sharper than a lot of cheaper knifed. The key is to get a stainless, high carbon blade. Honestly the chef knife is all you "need". A bread, some steak (for guests) a pearing, and a meat cleaver knife are nice, but again, not "needed". Splurge on a chef knife if anything.
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Old 11-07-2009, 12:11 AM   #5
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If you buy a set, you can often get 4-5 useful knives in a block for the price of 3 individuals... that's why I got the Shun set.

oh and remember they can be sharpened! mine are due I think. it's been a couple years and one mysteriously got a big ding in the blade :(
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Old 11-07-2009, 08:57 PM   #6
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I worked for cutco and they were the *****. The sets are not cheap but are top notch. I can't say enough about them. The products are garanteed for life. With full lifetime replacement if they ever break ( never going to happen) they also have a lifetime of free sharpening. If the blade is unable to be sharpened they give you a new one. The handle is heat resistant, melt proof, and non porus so no germs can stay/grow/live on them like a wood handle. The handle design is made to offer the best weight balance and grip for any size hand. They also offer a payment plan. It is usually something like 20$ per week or similar. These knives really sell themselves. One time using these knives and you will be hooked. Along with knives they sell flatwear, steak knives, spatulas, grilling utensils, garden tools, and so on. Call me biased but they are truelly amazing.
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Old 11-07-2009, 10:30 PM   #7
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Blah do you really need a fancy knife? I cook every day and I love cooking. All you're doing is chopping **** up with a knife. That won't make you a better cook. It may make prep easier but that's it.

The best and most useful knife I have ever possessed or used is some rubber handled serrated chef's knife. It has small- 2mm or so serrations the length of the blade. It doesn't even have a brand name on it.

I don't like straight edge chef knives. I've had cutcos before and sharpening properly is a pain. If you like doing that **** then hurrah go and get yourself ten billion straight edge knives. My shitty serrated knife will cut through tomatoes and all sorts of stuff no problemo though. It also saws through winter squash too. There's nothing worse than having a fancy spiffy knife that's dull as squishy dogshit.

topic drift:

IF you want a sharp utility/belt/pocket knife though, I do recommend knives from the maker of Shun- kershaw. The Kershaw Caspar served me really well as a very very sturdy work knife. The Kershaw Ken Onion Chive is the sharpest knife I have ever used. I've sliced my flesh off accidentally with that too many times. It's tiny and nasty. When I was at a gun show recently I watched this guy casually oening it up and he sliced his thumb on it and blood puddled on the floor.

For a good "I'M GONNA KILL YOU MUTHAFUKA" intimidating work knife I recommend the Kershaw ZT line. Superb quality but way too big for your pocket unless you are paul bunyan or a nfl linebacker. KAI USA : ZT Product Details

-----

last thing. Probably the best straight edge cooking knife I had was some mild steel (help me out here metallurgists!) knife that was permanently rusty. It sharpened up realllllly easily and helped me get enough iron in my diet
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Old 11-07-2009, 11:13 PM   #8
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The Kershaw Ken Onion Chive is the sharpest knife I have ever used.
My dad swears by kershaw, I love them for a cheap-ish but still high quality everyday carry pocket knife.....but I can't agree with this statement, Have you ever heard of Benchmade?
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Old 11-07-2009, 11:52 PM   #9
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Blah do you really need a fancy knife? I cook every day and I love cooking. All you're doing is chopping **** up with a knife. That won't make you a better cook. It may make prep easier but that's it.

The best and most useful knife I have ever possessed or used is some rubber handled serrated chef's knife. It has small- 2mm or so serrations the length of the blade. It doesn't even have a brand name on it.

I don't like straight edge chef knives. I've had cutcos before and sharpening properly is a pain. If you like doing that **** then hurrah go and get yourself ten billion straight edge knives. My shitty serrated knife will cut through tomatoes and all sorts of stuff no problemo though. It also saws through winter squash too. There's nothing worse than having a fancy spiffy knife that's dull as squishy dogshit.

That's a bread knife you've got there. A better blade does indeed make you a better chef, not just a better prep cook. Slicing a tomato with zero effort is the sign of a good knife, and it should cut straight down through a squash. If sharping a blade is a pain, pay someone the huge sum of $10 to sharpen it for you. Simply honing it with a honing stick will put sharpening sessions about 6 months to a year apart. Sawing? I don't mean to go all Hustler on your ***, but I'm afraid you're dead wrong and the professional culinary world would laugh in you and your knife's face. That's as mean as I can be, sorry Hustler.
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Old 11-08-2009, 02:03 AM   #10
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That's a bread knife you've got there. A better blade does indeed make you a better chef, not just a better prep cook. Slicing a tomato with zero effort is the sign of a good knife, and it should cut straight down through a squash. If sharping a blade is a pain, pay someone the huge sum of $10 to sharpen it for you. Simply honing it with a honing stick will put sharpening sessions about 6 months to a year apart. Sawing? I don't mean to go all Hustler on your ***, but I'm afraid you're dead wrong and the professional culinary world would laugh in you and your knife's face. That's as mean as I can be, sorry Hustler.
No it's not a bread knife. Explain to me please how a better knife makes you a better cook. Chopping is chopping and cooking is cooking. As for the professional culinary world, it seems that the more I pay for a meal, the cruddier it is. I know they love their fancy knives and stuff but they could cook just as well with a plastic butter knife as a spifforiffic knife.

Also, by squash I mean winter squash- acorn, butternut, delica etc.

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Old 11-08-2009, 02:17 AM   #11
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I worked for cutco and they were the *****. The sets are not cheap but are top notch. I can't say enough about them. The products are garanteed for life. With full lifetime replacement if they ever break ( never going to happen) they also have a lifetime of free sharpening. If the blade is unable to be sharpened they give you a new one. The handle is heat resistant, melt proof, and non porus so no germs can stay/grow/live on them like a wood handle. The handle design is made to offer the best weight balance and grip for any size hand. They also offer a payment plan. It is usually something like 20$ per week or similar. These knives really sell themselves. One time using these knives and you will be hooked. Along with knives they sell flatwear, steak knives, spatulas, grilling utensils, garden tools, and so on. Call me biased but they are truelly amazing.
He is telling the truth. Cutco knives straight rape **** on anything. $400 a set.
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Old 11-08-2009, 02:22 AM   #12
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Most chefs would fall on their faces with a truly dull knife. A sharp one makes you faster and more precise. A good knife makes a good chef, I hardly got any compliments from the chef before I got my good knife, I had no idea how much the crappy dull one was holding me back. I never said you had to spend a lot, like I said my $35 sysco knife (think I got a discount though) served me well. As long as it's a high carbon stainless steel blade you're usually good. The expensive ones have more comfortable handles and are an even better steel, amd genrally longer. If you can afford it great, but a $50 ish knife would suit the creative home chef well.
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Old 11-08-2009, 06:23 AM   #13
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Cutco = 440A. If I was going to pay that much for a knife set I would want something that uses a steel alloy more than two steps up from what is used in those $5 junk knives you see on every other table at the gunshows or weekend markets - those are 420 - run far and fast if encountered! There's a reason they use 440A, and it's not because it's good. However, to give credit where it's due, they DID do a good job of wringing every last bit of potential out of it (multi-stage heat treatment, using an edge other than straight, etc) so they're at least moderately decent - just not at the prices they're asking.

Frankly, I don't think you can go wrong with just about any set of knives a step above what you'd see on late-night TV or at JCPenney (or from some dude going door to door). If it fits your hand well, is made of a decent alloy, then I wouldn't sweat it too much - something like a Wusthof 10 or 14 piece set. I think 22 slots is overkill, but they're your knives. If I had to pick I'd go with Wusthof over JA Henckels (no experience with any other EU brands).
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Old 11-08-2009, 10:05 AM   #14
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Yes cutco is pricey but they offer LIFETIME replacment and sharpening for free. I have two sets one at my mothers and one at my fathers and they are ******* amazing. My cousin who has graduated from Johnson and whales culinary school (college) has purchased the largest package offered by cutco and also swears by them. I'm sure is judgment in knives is pretty good I doubt they use cheap knives at a college...
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Old 11-08-2009, 10:42 AM   #15
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my friends older sister sold cutco knives in college and i remember slicing through a soda can, but i don't eat soda cans...anymore. From all the reviews i've read, they're OK knives but you can get better knives for the same money. I was at the in-laws last night and my father in law loves to cook and subscribes to Cooks Illustrated. the nov-dec 09 issue had a little article on testing knives, particularly hybrid knives in this case. A $25 victorinox ranked 3 out of 10, $100+ knives by global and mac professional ranked 6 and 7 i believe. hmmm.

back to knives in general, i have a **** set that was given to me, the blades are dull and won't keep an edge, the handles are plastic and they are bendy. I'm used to my mothers set which isn't anything special by any means but way better than these. The japanese especially believe that a very important part of their food preparation is that the knife should cut everything without crushing anything and this will help the end product. like finely cutting parsely and when you're done it's still fluffy and a not a sloppy mess.
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Old 11-08-2009, 12:00 PM   #16
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If you want a cool looking block of knives on the counter, get a set. If not, get a 8" or 10" chef, little paring knife, a filet knife if you cook fish, and a utility knife. Also, get a long, badass steel with a large guard and a $5 16" stone from a restaurant supply store.

I have a 10" Global chef knife because they're a decent steel at an affordable price, I like this handle more than any other:

...and I like a huge chef's knife. yes, its a $150 knife but I use it twice-per day, every day. I also really like the blade curve on this because it rolls from about 4"-out from the back of the blade. It doesn't hold an edge long, but I don't mind sharpening it because other qualities are superior.

Stay away from a Santoku knife because although people think they look cool and retailers sell lots of them, the shape of the blade only permits straight, chop cuts. Also, I had a Wusthof/Calphalon knife previously that when heated (fois gras) it warped like a bitch. My $8 spare chef's knife from Target didn't warp with heat and holds an edge forever, lol.
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Old 11-08-2009, 04:44 PM   #17
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from what i've been reading about the global knives, some people love the handles and some hate them saying they are too low and they knuckle their cutting board. but i haven't actually gotten out to a real place to handle anything yet so....
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Old 11-08-2009, 07:42 PM   #18
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the global handles can also get slippery if you've got sloppy skills.
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Old 11-09-2009, 04:44 PM   #19
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My shitty serrated knife will cut through tomatoes and all sorts of stuff no problemo though.
I bet that sawing action is great for onions.



Quote:
It also saws through winter squash too. There's nothing worse than having a fancy spiffy knife that's dull as squishy dogshit.

Then get a decent whet stone and sharpen your ****.



On topic:

Your first investment should be a good set of wooden cutting boards. If you're cutting on stone or tile, you might as well use a serrated ginsu knife you ordered from an infomercial.

A big part of chosing your knives is about how you're going to use them and your ability to care for and use them properly. There is a wide range is sizes, shapes, styles, and metallurgy. You've got to do your research and find what works best for you in your hands, for the things you are going to be cutting. Also it's good to have a wide range of knives in your collection, just like you wouldn't bring only a 1 iron and a putter to the golf course.

Through use I've found I'm a big fan of the japaneese knives, but you need to know the boundaries, and how to care for them properly.

The knife that probably gets the most daily use at my house is a Hiromoto Aogami Super Series 120mm petty. For steak knives I really like the Smith & Wollensky steakhouse knives.
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Old 11-09-2009, 04:54 PM   #20
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Then get a decent whet stone and sharpen your ****.
I dont trust me to sharpen my knives. steel yes, but i'll let the pros do the work.
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