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Old 01-05-2010, 01:27 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by bakechef View Post
.................compared to a good clean cut from a proper knife that will often heal much quicker.
Well I can vouch for that statement. Hubby gave me a very nice Zwilling J. A. Henckels paring knife for Christmas. (That knife alone might be worth as much as all my other knives!) While cleaning the blade I managed to cut my thumb near the base...didn't realize it was sharp all the way to the handle. Did this on New Year's day. Today - what cut? Meanwhile, I'm half-way through week two trying to heal a string cut...
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Old 01-08-2010, 01:49 AM   #32
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If your husband cooks as much as you do, he should have his own set of knives. I don't think I have EVER found a complete-brand set of cutlery that had any more than two knives worth their salt. Most people like your self will be very happy with a Wusthof or Zwilling JA Heinkles 8" Chef's knife and a 3-3.5" paring knife. That can be had for 120.00 or less for the pair... They'll give you a lifetime of reliable service and all you need to do is steel them from time to time, and have them professionally tuned as you see fit (either 6 or 12 month intervals, usually, depending on how much you cook and how you treat your knives) - Invest in a good end-grain cutting board, a quality steel and a knife block. You don't have to buy a 600 dollar Japanese knife if yoy like that style, but don't buy a crap knife no matter what you do. Steel is key, and those 18/10 kitchenAid knives just won't go the distance - so if the knife is at WalMart, Target or K-Mart - Don't buy it. Stick with a good online source (CutleryandMore, Wilson-Sonoma, Sur La Table, ect... )

You may like the 8" Global Chef's knife as a balance between small hands and Japanese styling; My wife uses an 8" Furi, and I have used the Wusthof 8" classic and Cordon Bleu knives for years... perfectly good knives. Really it's a matter of a good cutting surface (Wood board), using your steel properly and buying any of the mid-range quality brands that best fit your hand. My suggestion is you try a Santoku style knife, and see of your hubby likes the more classic German or French style. For a paring knife - IMHO there are two that can't be beat: a 3" Zwilling (JA Heinkles) Pairing Knife, and a 3.5" Wusthof Cordon Bleu Pairing knife -- I say this because the 3" knife I use frequently, but I use the 3.5" one (with no bolster) for turning mushrooms and other delicate cuts... The Heinkles has a longer handle, and the Wusthof has a shorter handle, so again - you and hubby should play with the sets at a reputable store, and see what you like. If you are frequent guests at any private establishment, the cooks will be happy to let you play with their knives... Most have theor own equipment and you'll have a good cross-section to play around with.

1. Quality of Brand -- Don't get Fabreware, Kitchenaid, ect... but don't feel like a Shun or Hattori is the only option... Wusthof and Heinkles have been around a long time for a reason.
2. Use wood and only wood cutting boards (yeah, plastic for meat, ect... but never glass/marble/counter-top/plate/inside-of-pan/ect...)
3. Steel as needed and watch tastygarlic's YT on steeling knives - or any other person that will show you the proper method.
4. Hand wash/dry always - and send out for maintenance as you feel they need tuning. Chances are someone on this forum will do them for free.
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Old 01-08-2010, 02:06 AM   #33
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[QUOTE=tzakiel;865056]

That's it. Those 3 knives will do everything you need to do.

/QUOTE]

What more needs to be said?
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Old 01-08-2010, 02:15 AM   #34
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I don't think I have EVER found a complete-brand set of cutlery that had any more than two knives worth their salt.
Bingo! Block sets are largely a waste of money. They may look like a good deal til you factor in all the junk they include that you don't need. Nearly all of them include a steel, and in 99.5% of them that steel is junk (even the more expensive brands like Shun or Wusthof). They usually have a lot of overlap, too. For instance, many will have several paring knives that differ only in the type of point or 1/2" length, or slicers almost the same size as the chef's knife, etc. Most have a pair of kitchen shears which is also a waste of money. Yeah, kitchen shears are handy, but not at the price you pay with a block. Including steak knives also pads the count without giving you much value. For the most part, 95% of home kitchen work can be done with a set of 3 knives: A chef's knife, a bread knife & a paring knife. Add a good swivel peeler and you're up to around 99%. You're better off spending your money on a few good ones as opposed to a big block full of mediocre knives you don't need.

I'm a big fan of Japanese knives but I'll have to agree with Trooper- Wusthof and Henckels (& I'd add Messermeister) make fine knives and will serve you well. For many home cooks they're probably a better fit than a Japanese knife that will require more skill to maintain properly. The Le
Cordon Bleu knives were the best Wusthof made IMO, too bad they discontinued them.
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Old 01-10-2010, 07:10 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by Selkie View Post
After 10 years (and replacing my knife every two years) I will have a $100 total investment in a knife that is never more than 2 years old and probably never needs a professional sharpening.

I'm not saying that professional grade knives aren't worth their substantial investment. But for me, someone who isn't a professional cook but does claim to be gourmet-inclined, and who is a kitchen gadget hound, some investments just make better sense than others.
It sounds like you're a home cook. Me too. How do you wear out a knife in two years?

Edit: Just saw this: "The difference being I renew mine because the steel admittedly isn't as high a quality as yours, and would hardly be worth the cost of having a professional sharpen it."

Why don't you sharpen it yourself and save $20 every two years for the rest of your life?
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Old 01-10-2010, 09:15 PM   #36
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I am just an average over the top gadget junkie. I would pick up a set of Calphlon Katana knives. Great deals on E-bay or Bed Bath and Beyond with coupon. Great set for the home cook.
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Old 01-15-2010, 05:05 PM   #37
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I'm a big fan of Japanese knives but I'll have to agree with Trooper- Wusthof and Henckels (& I'd add Messermeister) make fine knives and will serve you well. For many home cooks they're probably a better fit than a Japanese knife that will require more skill to maintain properly. The Le Cordon Bleu knives were the best Wusthof made IMO, too bad they discontinued them.
I did some checking and the Le Cordon Bleu model knives are almost completely off market now - wow... I have Cordon model 3.5" pairing and 8" Chef's. The chef knife is a backup for work now, but the paring knife is still my primary. . . Not sure now if I should find/order ten more of them now. My backup is a Global GS-38 pairing that used to belong to Mrs. trooper...
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Old 01-15-2010, 05:16 PM   #38
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Thoughts on brands such as Shun, Global, and any other fairly common japanese brands?
Global's are at a good price point for "Something not German, but not traditional Japanese". The Global Chef's knife is nice - I played with one at Sur la Table; destroyed some carrots, oranges and apples with it - I liked the way it had a heel like a German chef's knife (sans bolster), but a tip more like a Gyotu - not so curved but not flat like a Santoku. It was also thin, but still felt sturdy enough. Can't remember what sizes they come in, I think I had the standard 8" model; If they were selling a 9" - 9.5" size that day, I would have impulse-bought one.

The more you go in the direction of Tijoro, Shun, Minsono, ect... the more you're dealing with "professional grade knives" in the sense that their sharp heels and usually longer, thinner blades are not-so-user-friendly to new cooks or inexperienced hands. Most cooks who love Japanese knives have migrated from Western-style knives over time... But there are a heck of a lot of excellent, experienced chefs that still use and swear by classic German/French-style cutlery. I'd start there and then as you use your knives, and eventually pick up someone elses and go "Hey, this is exactly what I am looking for!" then you'll know to "buy-up".
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Old 01-15-2010, 05:27 PM   #39
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Why stay away from J.A. Henkels International series? Curious. I was looking at a set that seemed nice, and while pricier than my current very old knives that need replacing, not something that I can't afford.

BTW: I looked at the sharpening system you recommended. Seems nice. Do you use this with a sharpening steel?

Carol
The price those JA International sets go for is so close to actual Zwilling sets, it's just not worth it. I think Heinkles lost a lot of credibility when they launched that line... only to make it worse by launching an even cheaper stamped-blade line right after that.

They way to tell what brand you have is by looking for the little "people" icons on the side of the blade. J.A. Zwilling ("The Twins") brand will have two little "people" as insignia, and the International (Spanish manufacture) will have just one little person icon.

If you are going to spend money on quality cutlery - make sure you get actual quality cutlery - Otherwise you could just go to Walmart and get some forged Kitchenaid knives for under fifty dollars.

Still suggest you but a knife BLOCK from either the goodwill or yard sale, or even order one - then populate that block with just what you need. a JA Zwilling 10" Slicer and 3" Pairing Knife sit in my block, they are perfect for me, but maybe you would get more use from a longer paring knife and don't ever see a need for a slicer... That's what the empty block is for - Just hand-select only the perfect knives for you. And always keep one cheap paring knife in there just so the other good knives aren't abused!
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Old 01-15-2010, 09:40 PM   #40
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The price those JA International sets go for is so close to actual Zwilling sets, it's just not worth it. I think Heinkles lost a lot of credibility when they launched that line... only to make it worse by launching an even cheaper stamped-blade line right after that.

They way to tell what brand you have is by looking for the little "people" icons on the side of the blade. J.A. Zwilling ("The Twins") brand will have two little "people" as insignia, and the International (Spanish manufacture) will have just one little person icon.

If you are going to spend money on quality cutlery - make sure you get actual quality cutlery - Otherwise you could just go to Walmart and get some forged Kitchenaid knives for under fifty dollars.

Still suggest you but a knife BLOCK from either the goodwill or yard sale, or even order one - then populate that block with just what you need. a JA Zwilling 10" Slicer and 3" Pairing Knife sit in my block, they are perfect for me, but maybe you would get more use from a longer paring knife and don't ever see a need for a slicer... That's what the empty block is for - Just hand-select only the perfect knives for you. And always keep one cheap paring knife in there just so the other good knives aren't abused!
Thanks Trooper. That is exactly what we decided to do. Picked up a block the other day. We looked at the Henckels International set that Costco had, but didn't really like it. Both hubby and myself like the feel of the Wusthof Classic 8" chefs knife. I think that is what we will start out with. We will probably buy them little by little as we need them. When we looked at the sets, they came with knives we probably wouldn't use. For now we just got the block and are using our old knives. We just got a Syderco Sharpmaker and are practicing sharpening.

BTW: In your earlier post you mentioned you liked the Cordon Bleu line. Amazon.com has a few of them if you still want some.

Carol
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