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Old 02-05-2009, 03:30 PM   #1
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Bought a Block of Knives, Now What?

Okay so I bought a knife block and it came with different knives but no instructions as to what is best with what. Any suggestions? Here's the list.

9" Bread
8" Chef's
7" Santoku
5" Santoku
5" Utility
5" Boning
3 1/2" Paring
3" Petite Paring Knives

Obviously I know what to do with the bread knife, but that's about it. Any suggestions for the rest would be appreciated.

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Old 02-05-2009, 03:47 PM   #2
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The chefs knife is what you will use for 99% of everything. Either that or whichever Santoku you like better. There is really no reason to that a 7" and a 5" Santoku. That is a complete waste.

The boning knife you will use for boning work obviously.

The 3.5 and 3" paring knives are redundant as well. You do not need both. Pick which one you like better and that is the one you will use. This knife will be used for fine delicate work. things like hulling strawberries and stuff like that. i use mine for cutting grapes in half for my son. I could use a chefs or santoku for that, but the paring knife is small and the grapes are small so that works perfectly for me.

The utility knife is pretty useless. Whatever you would use that for you could use the chef or santoku for.
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Old 02-05-2009, 03:58 PM   #3
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So I guess the question becomes why did the manufacturer decide that this was a good combo and AGAIN for the umpteenth time in a week I feel like a total fool.
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Old 02-05-2009, 04:00 PM   #4
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Knife sets are usually a waste of money. Manufactures know they can get people to buy a whole bunch of lower quality stuff it they bundle it all together. It makes it seem like you are getting a deal. Wow I get 10 knifes for XX dollars. When in reality you would generally be better off getting 2 or three knives of better quality that may cost a little more per knife, but there will be no waste.
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Old 02-05-2009, 04:15 PM   #5
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If only this was lower quality and cheap. I think I've figured out the next move I'll make with my money. I'm going out and having SUCKER tattoo'd on my face.
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Old 02-05-2009, 04:34 PM   #6
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That's the big reason I usually don't care for block sets- it's a way to move the "fluff" pieces that you don't need. They put a few useful knives in there and pad it with junk, or at least stuff that you wouldn't spend the money on otherwise. My classic examples are scissors/kitchen shears and the steel. Sure, a kitchen shears is handy but would you pay $50 for them? And the ribbed "sharpening" steel included in nearly every block is really hard on a knife; it shouldn't even be used, much less included in a block.

I have seen a few block sets that included a good mix of knives but overall you're better off buying a block or Mag-Blok and getting the knives separately.

The Chef knife and Santoku are basically interchangeable. I occasionally prefer the latter for slicing some types of fruits and veggies. The main advantage the santoku has is that among the cheaper knives it will usually be thinner than the Chef's knife. Beyond that it's personal preference. I agree that there's too much overlap there. There isn't much point to including an 8" Chef & a 7" Santoku. And no need for a 5" Santoku & a 5" utility. And I really can't imagine needing paring knives 1/2" different.

What brand are they, if I may ask?
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Old 02-05-2009, 05:02 PM   #7
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What brand are they, if I may ask?
Um, kind of, NO, because you're a knife snob, which works for you, and you probably wouldn't understand why I bought what I bought.
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Old 02-05-2009, 05:06 PM   #8
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Um, kind of, NO, because you're a knife snob, which works for you, and you probably wouldn't understand why I bought what I bought.
No offense meant! And I prefer "knife nerd" to "knife snob," thank you!

I don't think there's anything wrong with not wanting to spend a ton on knives, either. Whatever works for you is good.
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Old 02-05-2009, 05:07 PM   #9
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The best thing to do is to start using them they will be doing you no good in the block
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Old 02-05-2009, 05:09 PM   #10
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IMO they only ones you need are a chef's knife, a paring knife and a serrated bread knife. And poultry shears.

A boning knife is handy if you butcher and bone meat, otherwise you dont need it.

A santuko is a good addition but you don't need two, especially a little one. Nor do you need 2 paring knives.

Can you return them?
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Old 02-05-2009, 06:03 PM   #11
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If the 7" santoku is dirty, you can use the 5". If the 3 1/2 paring knife needs cleaning, you can use the other. You have enough knives so when someone offers to help, you can give them a knife and put them to work.
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Old 02-05-2009, 07:28 PM   #12
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Can I put in my two cents in support of useless and redundant knives? My 5" utility knife gets enough use to be worthy of a slot in front the front of my knife drawer. My boning knife may not be in the front of the drawer, but when it comes out, there is not another knife in the drawer that can do the job as well. You should see it turn a chicken into pieces.

At almost every meal prep there are a couple of ingredients that you may pull out a small cutting board for and a 6x9 cutting board pairs perfectly with a 5" utility knife. It excels at tiny dice for making veggie cream cheese for homemade bagels, cutting up shallots etc. etc. etc.

Keep in mind that knife nerds are not allowed to own 5" utility knives and don't have a lot of experience with them. Their bylaws dictate only a chef's knife, paring knife, and serrated knife.
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Old 02-05-2009, 07:43 PM   #13
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Keep in mind that knife nerds are not allowed to own 5" utility knives and don't have a lot of experience with them. Their bylaws dictate only a chef's knife, paring knife, and serrated knife.
Nice try Jim. I'm a knife nerd and I have Japanese Petties (that's what they call them over there) in 140 and 150mm as well as Sabatier carbon steel utility knives in 5, 6, and 7" lengths and a few others.

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Old 02-05-2009, 07:51 PM   #14
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Keep in mind that knife nerds are not allowed to own 5" utility knives and don't have a lot of experience with them. Their bylaws dictate only a chef's knife, paring knife, and serrated knife.
I wish! I've got tons of redundant knives. Sure, I may only need a gyuto, paring knife and serrated bread knife, but I've got petty's, utilities, santokus, nikiris, usubas, debas...you name it. Oddly enough I've got half a dozen 240mm gyutos- yeah, all the same size! Not to mention gyutos and chef knives of other sizes (eights, tens). Lots of knife geeks have many more than that.

Seems I can't take my own advice!
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Old 02-05-2009, 07:58 PM   #15
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Okay, boys, lets play nice. Jim is new and was offering his opinion and since he's so new we don't know his experience at this time. I've expressed my obvious sadness and feelings of being ripped of again (see my other thread about my car) and I appreciate it.

Rob ~ you also made me laugh so thanks. Some of you guys can be really funny.
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Old 02-05-2009, 07:59 PM   #16
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I wish! I've got tons of redundant knives. Sure, I may only need a gyuto, paring knife and serrated bread knife, but I've got petty's, utilities, santokus, nikiris, usubas, debas...you name it. Oddly enough I've got half a dozen 240mm gyutos- yeah, all the same size! Not to mention gyutos and chef knives of other sizes (eights, tens). Lots of knife geeks have many more than that.

Seems I can't take my own advice!
Okay Rob, my utilities challenge your utilities to a dual. First, ,my 140mm Aritsugu A --- whoa! Look at the width of that bevel, read, 10* included angle



Then, a couple Ray Rantanen's in L6 band saw blade steel



then, a Takayuki 150



en garde!!!!!
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Old 02-05-2009, 08:10 PM   #17
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Excuse me Buzzard, but this isn't about YOUR knives, it's about MY question about what to do with the set I bought. I listed several knives and I'd like the REGULAR COOKS here, like GB and Andy and jennyema and even Rob who's a knife nerb but really down to earth, to help me with what knife could do what. It's not another thread for you to show off. Not every knife thread is about you showing off. I'm sorry but sometimes you just have a down to earth question and this "my knife is better than yours" is really hard on the "just plain cooks" here.
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Old 02-05-2009, 08:11 PM   #18
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Yikes! The only really nice one I have is my 6" Shun Classic utility/petty. The rest are forged German boat anchors. I don't use a utility knife a whole lot. Eventually, once I buy about 150 other knives that I need worse, I'd love to get a Gekko from JCK or a Wa handled Kumagoro or Yoshikane. It's hard to plunk down too much $ on a pattern I have little everyday use for.
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Old 02-05-2009, 08:24 PM   #19
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Okay, boys, lets play nice. Jim is new and was offering his opinion and since he's so new we don't know his experience at this time.
I think Jim was joking about the "knife nerd bylaws", too.

Okay, Callisto, we did sort of sidetrack this. As to your knives:

The 2 paring knives are both handy. They're nice for peeling fruits and root veggies like carrots and potatos. (Although I'll confess I usually use a peeler).

The boning knife really is handy. I'd have to see it to say, but many boning knives, if theyr'e thin and flexible enough, actually work pretty well for cleaning and skinning/filleting fish.

The 5" utility is an oddball; everything I can do with it I can do with something else. Except one thing- I love it for cutting potatos, I don't even know why. It's awesome for splitting 'em lengthwise for twice bakes. At the last restaurant I worked at I had to make a hundred or so every day. I used my utility enough I actually had to sharpen it every few weeks.

The 5" santoku is kinda neat. I think it's really handy for cheese, food doesn't seem to stick as bad and the thin profile goes thru harder cheeses like cheddar really well. It also makes a good veggie knife.

The 7" santoku is basically an alternative to the chef's knife. I've noticed many women prefer it to the chef's, possible due to the size (a bit shorter and usually a bit smaller handle, too). The santoku is especially good for slicing and mincing veggies, IMO.

The 8" chef is a jack-of-all-trades that does almost everything well. When it's really sharp it makes a good bread knife. You can use it for all your prep; cutting meat, carving turkeys, chopping herbs, etc.

The bread knife- it's purpose is perhaps obvious, but it's also really good for cakes. And it does a great job cutting tomatoes (something that's hard to do with a regular straight edged blade unless its very sharp). Anything hard on the outside yet soft on the inside is a good match for a serrated knife. It's also a good knife to use if you have to cut something that's partially frozen (eg chicken breasts, ice cream cakes).

Hope that gives you a few ideas.
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Old 02-05-2009, 08:35 PM   #20
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Rob ~ a big hug to you. Thank you for the very valuable information. You made the set far more worthwhile than I thought it was a couple of hours ago. I know I have to use them to appreciate them but your comments definitely give me guidelines to start slicing and dicing.

I am not working so I'm cooking during the day. I can't wait to try out the knives on differnt things using your suggestions.
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