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Old 06-04-2016, 04:33 PM   #1
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Buying knives makes my head swim

I have these cheap crap knives. I have looked at everything but can't decide. There is a specialty store in Hattiesburg where I could hold the knives in my hand but I don't want to go there knowing in my heart that I will find the same thing on line for less. It's a lovely place but expensive and I won't take advantage of them. If I take advantage of their expertise I will fee honor bound to buy from them.

I'm a dog groomer. I bought a lot of grooming shears on line. I spent a ton of money and ended up giving a lot of my expensive shears away because they simply weren't right in my hand. I started buying at grooming shows. The shears that I use most often are the ones I bought at shows. The sellers looked at my hand and suggested a shear that would fit me well.

I have decided that I need more education. I just purchased this book An Edge in the Kitchen: The Ultimate Guide to Kitchen Knives -- How to Buy Them, Keep Them Razor Sharp, and Use Them Like a Pro: Chad Ward: 9780061188480: Amazon.com: Books Perhaps after I read it I'll know enough to go to the expensive store and show the lady my small thick fingered hands, see what she has and buy from her.

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Old 06-04-2016, 04:44 PM   #2
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Sometimes you have to buy some just to see if you like them. I wouldn't get too crazy and buy a set of high end ones. In reality, there are many less expensive ones that will do the same job..you can spend the extra money on good food....lol
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Old 06-04-2016, 05:15 PM   #3
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That's what I did when buying grooming shears. Of course, I had more money back then...Also, when I buy a tool I want to buy quality. Strangely, the 2 shears I bought at grooming shears were not that expensive. One pair cost $95. and the other $125. One has 7" blades and is concave ground. The other has just 6" blades and has a beveled edge.
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Old 06-04-2016, 06:15 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by LizStreithorst View Post
That's what I did when buying grooming shears. Of course, I had more money back then...Also, when I buy a tool I want to buy quality. Strangely, the 2 shears I bought at grooming shears were not that expensive. One pair cost $95. and the other $125. One has 7" blades and is concave ground. The other has just 6" blades and has a beveled edge.
One point to make: Don't buy a set. When you find what fits your hand, buy one and give it a run for a bit to be certain, then all you will really need is a couple more with the same feel. Sets always come with knives that you never or rarely use, so it doesn't make sense to pay a premium price for that.

I have 3 knives with which I do 99% of my kitchen cutting. My 10" Wusthof
Classic series Chef (by far my most used knife), a 5" Wusthof Classic boning knife, and a 3" Chicago Cutlery utility knife. I also have a Dexter Russell serrated bread slicer, which is the only single function knife in my block. I keep the 10" chef sharp enough to slice a ripe tomato paper thin - I never use a serrated knife for tomatoes.
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Old 06-04-2016, 07:54 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by LizStreithorst View Post
I have these cheap crap knives. I have looked at everything but can't decide. There is a specialty store in Hattiesburg where I could hold the knives in my hand but I don't want to go there knowing in my heart that I will find the same thing on line for less. It's a lovely place but expensive and I won't take advantage of them. If I take advantage of their expertise I will fee honor bound to buy from them.

I'm a dog groomer. I bought a lot of grooming shears on line. I spent a ton of money and ended up giving a lot of my expensive shears away because they simply weren't right in my hand. I started buying at grooming shows. The shears that I use most often are the ones I bought at shows. The sellers looked at my hand and suggested a shear that would fit me well.

I have decided that I need more education. I just purchased this book An Edge in the Kitchen: The Ultimate Guide to Kitchen Knives -- How to Buy Them, Keep Them Razor Sharp, and Use Them Like a Pro: Chad Ward: 9780061188480: Amazon.com: Books Perhaps after I read it I'll know enough to go to the expensive store and show the lady my small thick fingered hands, see what she has and buy from her.
Liz, I guess it's noble to not want to "take advantage of" a knife shop for trying out a hand and balance test on a brand of knife and then not buy there. Maybe a corporate outfit like Bed Bath and Beyond would make you feel better, but practically there's really no other way test a knife properly than to at least hold it. I agree with everyone else, don't buy a set. Too many folks do that because they want the knife block with everything matchy-matchy. I bet the first buying tip your new book will have is "hold it before you buy it".
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Old 06-04-2016, 09:13 PM   #6
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My hands are very small. I have three different favorite knives from three different makers.

Store owners all the time get folks in who are "just interested" and not buying that particular day. Some even love it when you ask particular questions. They feel like they just educated that person. When I bought my Chicago Cutlery boning knife, I just asked about it and felt it. I didn't buy it that day, simply because it was the day before payday. The store owner didn't know that. He just knew I was interested in knives. And I got quite an education that day. I was in that store for 30 minutes. I didn't feel any inner pressure to go back and buy it the next day. Like you I did my research first.
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Old 06-04-2016, 09:45 PM   #7
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I've been buying my knives from the Dollar Store and I knew I needed a couple new ones when I had to stick the point of my large knife in the potato to start a cut because the blade was so dull it wouldn't. Cut, that is.

What I couldn't believe was how expensive they were. I was looking at Bed, Bath and Beyond. So I'm in the same boat as Liz. I have no idea what to buy or what to pay for them.
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Old 06-04-2016, 10:54 PM   #8
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I've been buying my knives from the Dollar Store and I knew I needed a couple new ones when I had to stick the point of my large knife in the potato to start a cut because the blade was so dull it wouldn't. Cut, that is.

What I couldn't believe was how expensive they were. I was looking at Bed, Bath and Beyond. So I'm in the same boat as Liz. I have no idea what to buy or what to pay for them.
When I have to make an important or major decision regarding a purchase I do it in three steps. First I go to the stores and see what the prices are out there for the item I want. Then when I have the time I go on line and just Google the items and look at several sites to compare prices. Then I go to Amazon and look at their reviews for that item. That doesn't mean I will buy it from Amazon. I just may have found the item in a store at a much lesser price. The last thing I do is here. I look at all the recommendations from the members here. Then I make my purchase.
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Old 06-05-2016, 02:07 AM   #9
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Before you buy knives, expensive or not, my suggestion is to first decide how you are going to keep them sharp. If you want to sharpen them yourself but haven't yet learned how, do that first. Again just my opinion, replacing a knife because it is dull is like replacing a shirt because it is dirty.

LizStreithorst, I think you're on the right track reading your new book before you buy new knives. Maybe even go one step further and practice sharpening your old knives first.

I use inexpensive knives from a commercial restaurant supply store. They are sharp as the day I bought them and I've spent more on stones than knives.
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Old 06-05-2016, 02:37 AM   #10
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The kinds of food you enjoy cooking, the number of people in your household, and your habits in the kitchen can guide your decision on which knife to buy.

Most people will say they cut a variety of things. The chef knife is a general purpose knife that can handle most tasks thrown at it.

The size of the knife relates to how much food needs to be cut up. Cooks working in restaurants are going to want 8 - 10 inches knives. Home cooks we can use whatever size knife we want. If you are not doing much cutting, then a utility knife might be a good choice. Maybe you like to have parties, then an 8 inch chef knife would be something to consider.

Cut up a lot of vegetables? A nakiri is a knife that looks like a small cleaver, is great for slicing and dicing vegetables. The Pioneer Woman uses one on her show.
Another knife made popular by a celeb was the santoku. It's a smaller knife usually in the 6 - 7 inch range.

Some people view knifes as a tool to get the job done as quickly as possible. Others the knife is a precision tool, that is used carefully to make precise cuts. If you fall on the quickly as possible side of things, then a German knife with softer steel is the way to go. The edge will roll when it hits something hard. Running the knife over a steel will realign the edge.

Japanese knifes get much sharper, hold there edges longer and are lighter then a German knife. The performance comes at a cost. Japanese knifes are expensive. The steel in a Japanese knife is so hard that if the edge hits something hard it will chip. Japanese knifes need to be sharpened by somebody who is familiar with them.

A store with a good return policy will allow you to return a knife after it has been used. That way you can try the knife prepping your favorite dishes. You may find that the knife is too short or that after twenty minutes your wrists ache. Share that information with the store and they will help you pick out a better knife.

Good luck with your decision,

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Old 06-05-2016, 06:41 AM   #11
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With all of the options available you can drive yourself crazy making a selection, and you are proving that!

I have a 7" Wusthof (unusual size) that I've had for decades, and use it for just about everything in the kitchen. The paring knife is used on occasion, and the bread knife is used even less. The only knife I would be concerned about is the chef's knife. But as a home cook, I wouldn't overthink it.

Here's ATK's opinion:
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Old 06-05-2016, 10:04 AM   #12
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Nice video. Sounds like the Victorinox is the hands down choice and you can't beat the price!
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Old 06-05-2016, 10:54 AM   #13
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Thanks so much everyone. And thanks very much to you, tenspeed for the ATK review. The carbon knife they said was the best is a work or art but too expensive and too high maintenance for me. The Forschner Victorinox is right up my alley and at 40 bucks a huge bargain.

I looked at sets but they come with to many knives I don't need. My cheap steak knives are fine for me. I don't use my paring knife much so my cheap one is fine. I want a good chefs knife, a good slicing knife and a good bread knife. I watched all ATKs reviews on these knives and in every case they give Forschner the highest ratings. I'm looking forward to getting the book for the knowledge I will gain but I may buy the Forschner before I get the book.

BTW, I watched a whole ton of ATK,s reviews. I got lost watching them. I watched reviews of things I don't even want simply because the reviews are so well done and so thoroughly researched. They are GREAT!

As for sharpening, I'm not sure what I will do. I do not have the sharpening gene. I can never get the angle right. ATK recommends an electric one which surprised me. I will read the book and decide on how to proceed with something I'm not good at.

Thanks again everyone.
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Old 06-05-2016, 11:11 AM   #14
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Thanks so much everyone. And thanks very much to you, tenspeed for the ATK review. The carbon knife they said was the best is a work or art but too expensive and too high maintenance for me. The Forschner Victorinox is right up my alley and at 40 bucks a huge bargain.
My ex-wife has that very knife and absolutely loves hers.
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Old 06-05-2016, 11:50 AM   #15
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As for sharpening, I'm not sure what I will do. I do not have the sharpening gene. I can never get the angle right. ATK recommends an electric one which surprised me. I will read the book and decide on how to proceed with something I'm not good at.

Thanks again everyone.
I use the Chef's Choice 3 stage and it's great. I use the second and third stages about twice a year on my Wusthoff blades, but have never needed the first stage for them. The only time I've used the first stage is when sharpening a couple of my mom's old knives after she passed. She never understood sharpening either, and just used the sharpener on the back of her electric can opener, and even that not nearly often enough.

She had a set of Chicago Cutlery that were actually pretty good knives, but just badly abused. I fixed a couple of them up with the Chef's Choice and they seem to be nearly as good as my Wusthoff knives. They take a good edge and hold it reasonably well.

You might look at Dexter Russell knives too (Amazon carries them - LINK Check the reviews). They are even less expensive than Victorinox, and you see them in a lot of commercial kitchens. I have a friend who owns and operates a restaurant and that's all he uses. The only one I have is a bread knife, which I like a lot, but I can't really rate the rest from personal experience.
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Old 06-05-2016, 11:58 AM   #16
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Buying knives makes my head swim

We have the Chef's Choice 3 stage as well. DH loves it, and would happily sharpen my knives daily. I don't allow him, don't want my knives turned into toothpicks.

I have more knives than I should. Some gifts, some inherited, very few purchased by me.
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Old 06-05-2016, 12:19 PM   #17
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I use the Chef's Choice 3 stage and it's great. I use the second and third stages about twice a year on my Wusthoff blades, but have never needed the first stage for them. The only time I've used the first stage is when sharpening a couple of my mom's old knives after she passed. She never understood sharpening either, and just used the sharpener on the back of her electric can opener, and even that not nearly often enough.

She had a set of Chicago Cutlery that were actually pretty good knives, but just badly abused. I fixed a couple of them up with the Chef's Choice and they seem to be nearly as good as my Wusthoff knives. They take a good edge and hold it reasonably well.

You might look at Dexter Russell knives too (Amazon carries them - LINK Check the reviews). They are even less expensive than Victorinox, and you see them in a lot of commercial kitchens. I have a friend who owns and operates a restaurant and that's all he uses. The only one I have is a bread knife, which I like a lot, but I can't really rate the rest from personal experience.
For what it's worth, the Dexter knives RP linked to above are the ones I earlier mentioned buying from a local restaurant supplier. I have the 8" chef, 6" utility, and the paring knives. They're neither pretty not status symbols but I'm happy with them. I think all the knives you're looking at are good.
As far as sharpening genes go, I don't there is such a thing. But don't buy stones if you don't want to. For me, it's kind of a zen thing that I enjoy without the need for a yoga mat.
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Old 06-05-2016, 12:27 PM   #18
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If didn't have good knives and wanted to get some good knives, I'd go with the Victorinox. At that price it's hard to beat.
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Old 06-05-2016, 01:03 PM   #19
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If didn't have good knives and wanted to get some good knives, I'd go with the Victorinox. At that price it's hard to beat.
That's what I'm sold on, Andy. If I had to go less expensive I would but the Victorinox are more than affordable for me. I'll feel like I'm getting a bargain! Good knives without going to the poor house to buy them

I noticed that the reviewer on ATK had hands just like mine although mine are ugly hands with bent fingers at the joints and her's are not. She never said how they worked for her, though

I bet I'll decide to order them either this evening or tomorrow. I don't use knives like I use my dog grooming equipment where the fit to my hand is of greatest importance since I use them all the time every day. I'm just a weekend cook.
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Old 06-05-2016, 01:22 PM   #20
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I think you'll like it, Liz. The handle is comfortable and it's a fairly light weight knife.
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