Chef's Knives

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by arjo, May 18, 2014.

  1. arjo macrumors member

    arjo

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    #1
    Not sure how many here like to cook, but I figured I'd ask anyway/ :)

    I'm looking for a decent chef's knife in the 8" range. I've been doing a lot of cooking in the past few years and the standard store-bought knives aren't cutting it anymore (pun intended).

    I've done some admittedly-quick research. Should I be looking at Wüsthoff and Shun for this? My budget is ~$120 USD, if that helps. What should I be looking for? Can your recommend a good whetstone?

    Thanks in advance. :)
     
  2. Sym0 macrumors 6502

    Sym0

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    #2
    Slightly off-topic but any knife will do, it's how it is sharpened that makes the difference, who makes it and what its called is all marketing.

    There is a cool vid on youtube from a knife sharpening company (can't remember which one) that shows two knifes cutting a piece of paper with no resistance and one was a very expensive professional knife, the other a $2 job. No difference in performance, just a 100 times difference in price.

    Invest in a professional sharper, not a professional knife. All knives go blunt in a few cuts on a hard chopping board.
     
  3. Peace, May 18, 2014
    Last edited: May 18, 2014

    Peace macrumors Core

    Peace

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    #3
  4. Kissaragi, May 18, 2014
    Last edited: May 18, 2014

    Kissaragi macrumors 68020

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    #4
    I can highly recommend this website http://www.chefknivestogo.com

    Different knife brands do make a difference. A more expensive knife will generally hold a finer edge longer than a cheap knife even tho they can both be made to be very sharp right off the stone. The balance and feel of a more expensive knife is generally better too.

    The lanksy knife sharpening system is a great system for a reasonable price. You may want a ceramic or steel hone too. Sharpening is a complex subject and can get very expensive.
     
  5. Peace macrumors Core

    Peace

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    #5
    Indeed. I used to take all my kitchen knives to a local knife sharpener to have them done. Or he would stop by my kitchen once a week and sharpen them.
     
  6. G51989, May 18, 2014
    Last edited: May 18, 2014

    G51989 macrumors 68030

    G51989

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    #6
    Lots of chefs I know swear by these, I am not a chef but I bought a couple of them, I perfer the thinner blade and handle.

    http://www.japanesechefsknife.com/RyusenBlazenSeries.html
     
  7. dec. Suspended

    dec.

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    Toronto
    #7
    I agree on Henckels & Zwilling, they make great knives for everyday use.

    For Xmas I got a 3 piece Global Set (I know, mixed reputation...), while I love the sharpness, I do have my issues with the handle shape, I'm used to them by now but in general I'll definitely suggest for you to actually hold the knives for a bit and see if they are comfortable.
    And I definitely will take them to a local knife sharpener instead of messing them up myself ;-) .

    [​IMG]
     
  8. arjo thread starter macrumors member

    arjo

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    #8
    Thanks for the replies. Seems like a need both a good knife AND a good sharpening stone. I'm thinking this for the knife and this for the stone.
     
  9. Kissaragi macrumors 68020

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    Nov 16, 2006
    #9
    I have that exact knife, You wont be disappointed.

    Don't underestimate how tricky getting a very sharp edge free hand on a stone will be tho. Will take lots of practice and time to learn. I personally would get a fine ceramic hone such as http://www.amazon.com/Sharpener-Ceramic-Sharpening-Stick-Handle/dp/B004EG066O/ref=sr_1_9?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1400504806&sr=1-9&keywords=ceramic+steel before getting a stone.

    Sharpening is basically divided into two things, sharpening and honing. Sharpening is removing metal to create a brand new apex and honing is realigning the tip of the apex back to the centre where you want it. A ceramic hone will mostly hone but also take off a tiny amount of metal and any small burrs that develop. You use them little and often and you wont need to sharpen your knives for 6 months to a year depending on your use. A hone is also much much easier to use. You can buy a stone or sharpening system later or look for a decent local knife sharpener while you use the knife.

    Not sure whys going on with links, they are being buggy for me but hopefully they work for you!
     
  10. VI™ macrumors 6502a

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    #10
    I prefer Japanese blades because of the sharper angle. I have a large Shun Chef's knife, but any will do. The other difference between blades if going to be what they're made out of. A cheap knife may be able to be sharpened to cut as well as an expensive knife, but it will generally be made with lower quality materials and will lose it's edge faster. If you're not working in a kitchen and constantly using your knife, then you don't need a $200 blade.
     
  11. prostuff1 macrumors 65816

    prostuff1

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    #11
    I am a fan of Wusthof knives! I have a complete set, only need a cleaver to complete the set.

    I highly suggest the "Classic" line of knives from Wusthof. The chefs knife can be found here.

    I also bought one of these to help touch up the knives when they need to be done. I really only ever use the fines grit belts to do quick touch ups, then go to a ceramic wet stone, then finish it off with a a leather strop. I can get a very good edge on my knives that last quite a while and does not require a lot of work on my part.
     
  12. firedept macrumors 603

    firedept

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    #12
    Henckels & Zwilling. All my knives are made by them. I find them to hold the edge the longest. As for sharpening stone, go with a Henckels & Zwilling 2 part sharpening system. I took a course with Henckels & Zwilling in regards to sharpening my knives, as they are expensive and I want them to last.

    A knife only needs to be sharpened when it is nicked. In most cases the edge only needs to be refinished, which will bring back the sharpness to it. The link I have provided shows the sharpening block (in photo) I use and comes highly recommended by the teacher from Henckels & Zwilling that showed me how to do it. I recommend it as well.

    I have approx. 40 of their knives and would be lost with out them. Each one has their purpose and is used regularly. I do not work for them and am only offering my suggestion.
     
  13. VI™ macrumors 6502a

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    #13
    A knife needs to be sharpened when it's dull and honing the blade doesn't do the trick. An edge can get worn down from normal use and there may be no visible knicks. It all depends on what you're cutting. And once that edge wears down enough, honing the blade won't bring it back. You'll have to hit it with a stone and sharpen it.
     
  14. firedept macrumors 603

    firedept

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    #14
    This is not what I learned. Please understand, does not mean I was taught it properly either! I am only passing on what I learned. I was told if using the proper knife, the blade would only need to be smoothed to bring back the sharp edge.

    If the proper knife for the job is used, a knife will hold its edge for a long time. It was only on the rare occasion a blade would need to be actually sharpened. Most times a blade feels dull because its edge has curled. Hence using ceramic wheels to straighten the edge back out.

    My collection of knives is a fair size to accommodate my cooking needs, and it is not very often I have to sharpen my knives. A quick run once over the ceramics and away I go.

    Most people tend to treat their knives poorly. Mine are all kept in blocks and are hand washed immediately after using. I love to cook and dislike having bad knives to work with, which is why I took the Henckels course. I could be totally wrong, but I am going by what I was taught. Could it also be the quality of the knives I use?
     
  15. Peace macrumors Core

    Peace

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    #15
    That knife is my only 8" knife I would ever use. That's how much I trust that company. As for a stone. Man take it to a pro sharpener once a week. It will be worth it.
     
  16. Kissaragi macrumors 68020

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    #16
    Half right, you've just been taught specific devices by one manufacturer rather than sharpening in general (nothing wrong with that). That ceramic wheel sharpener you have is honing and lightly sharpening, not just honing. Your also looking after the knives very well so the two combined will mean you wont need your knives properly reprofiled for years unless you got a chip.

    If you were only honing using a leather strop or a steel made of steel then you would reach a point after 6-12 months where your edge is starting to become rounded rather than a sharp apex and would need to be reprofiled. This is why ceramic hones are so good because they provide the best of both worlds.

    Some of those pull through sharpeners can be far too aggressive so generally are not recommended but some are good and as its made my heckles it should be set to the factory grind angle.
     
  17. firedept macrumors 603

    firedept

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    #17
    Thank you for the added info. I am never to old to learn, so I am having a good day. Appreciated.
     
  18. vrDrew macrumors 65816

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    #18
    With kitchen knives the typical home cook quickly reaches a point of diminishing returns. Spending multiple hundreds of dollars for a knife probably isn't worth it for most people.

    The other thing to keep in mind is that you really only need three knives to do most things in the kitchen. An 8" chefs knife for general cutting and slicing. A small 4" blade for paring. And a serrated knife for cutting tomatoes, etc. Those big block sets sold by Wusthof and Henckels are nice looking - but you probably are paying for hardware you aren't going to use very often.

    The best advice I can give you about keeping the blades sharp is this: Don't abuse your knives. Never put a good blade in the dishwasher. Don't use them for cutting non-food items. And always, always, always use a cutting board. A few slices on a glass or steel surface will ruin a good edge very quickly.

    A kitchen knife doesn't need to be "scary sharp." You're cutting celery and chicken breasts here - not performing brain surgery. A few strokes with a whetstone will put a good enough edge on most blades that have been decently looked after. Professional sharpening probably is only necessary for a seriously dull or abused knife; or every couple of years.

    Lastly, its worth spending the time and effort to develop your cutting skills. Unless you are a pro, you'll probably never be able to replicate the lightning fast chopping and dicing skills. But its definitely worth learning the right way to cut up a chicken - both cooked and raw; as well as the correct (safe) way to chop onions, tomatoes, etc. A little YouTube search will provide a wealth of instruction videos.
     
  19. VI™ macrumors 6502a

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    #19
    Or a pizza stone. Nothing like waking up in the morning to find that your roommates used your $100+ Shun chef knife to cut their frozen pizza on a stone while they were drunk. Fortunately I sharpened all the nicks out of the blade and it's just as good as new.
     
  20. prostuff1 macrumors 65816

    prostuff1

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    #20
    Or a grill. Had a room mate cooking some steak outside on the grill and he wanted to cut one open to see how far along they where. He came inside, grabbed one of my good Wusthof steak knives and proceeded to walk back outside to check the steaks. I must have been somewhere else because I only saw him bringing the knife back in not taking it out. Needless to say there were a few nicks on the blade and I had to sharpen those out... complete pain in the arse for something he knew he should not have done. Felt like stabbing him with the nicked knife and asking him if it was still sharp or not.
     
  21. Kissaragi macrumors 68020

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    #21
    In the UK you see so many people using glass chopping boards.

    I die a little inside when I hear the edge of the blade chopping down onto tempered glass.
     
  22. arjo thread starter macrumors member

    arjo

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    #22
    All excellent advice, thanks! I've been practicing my cutting skills whenever I can; I'll never be a pro, but I am getting better and I think a good knife will help me work better in the kitchen.
     
  23. Mousse macrumors 68000

    Mousse

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    #23
    Being a home cook, I don't bother with expensive knives. I use $10 knives from Ross.:eek: I put money in a good home knife sharpener (I've got a Chef's Choice M130, a practically idiot proof sharpener). Every week I run the knives through the sharpener to keep the blades sharp. Sharpening a knife too much ruins the knives. This is why I buy cheap knives.

    After learning the techniques, I can chop onions at half the speed of a professional.:cool: But the biggest benefit was no more boo-boo.:D And no more fishing blue band-aides out of the soup.:p:p:p
     
  24. Kissaragi macrumors 68020

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    #24
    Butchers do the same, they use knives made of soft steel that tend to be cheap and then constantly sharpen them on steels. Makes a nice toothy edge and you dont have to worry about dropping your knife or hitting bone and chipping it.

    I have a mix, its nice having some cheap knock about knives around for some stuff.
     
  25. firestarter macrumors 603

    firestarter

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    #25
    I have a mixture of knives - and I agree with the general advice of a Chef's knife, a paring knife and a serrated knife. Keep them sharpened and cared for and you're good.

    My chef's knife and serrated are both Zwilling, but I have a couple of cheaper paring knives and they're both fine too.

    It's easy to get into this 'I need to have the best X in the world!' mindset, but really the knife care and cutting skills are going to get you a lot further than the knife brand itself. Doesn't mean you shouldn't own nice knives, but cheaper knives aren't going to hold you back.

    Depending on my mood, I often reach for a Chinese chef's knife. I picked up a really nice one on a trip to Shanghai (wasn't expensive at all). Extremely versatile tool, the deeper blade is great for shovelling veggies into the pan or for crushing garlic. You can do pretty much anything with these, they're cheap and 'egalitarian' and owning one will help cure you of the 'ZOMG Wusthof' lust.
     

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