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Old 03-10-2009, 08:25 PM   #1
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Cheap vs. good knives

I have a bunch of knives. Never owned a set, just ones I picked up with register tapes, at Target, hardware store and wherever. I use a steel most every time I use one, and have a whetstone for sharpening. I feel theres no reason to buy expensive pro knives when I don't mind sharpening these cheapies, and they seem to work just fine. Comments?

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Old 03-10-2009, 08:53 PM   #2
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I have had both, I think in the end it comes down to longevity, The ones I have paid more for last longer, both between sharpening and overall. Also, when I was in industry, all the chefs swore that those "sanitary" plastic boards wear down you knives faster than good oldfasioned wood cutting boards.
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Old 03-10-2009, 09:28 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldrustycars View Post
I have a bunch of knives. Never owned a set, just ones I picked up with register tapes, at Target, hardware store and wherever. I use a steel most every time I use one, and have a whetstone for sharpening. I feel theres no reason to buy expensive pro knives when I don't mind sharpening these cheapies, and they seem to work just fine. Comments?
If the knives you have work to your satisfaction, there's absolutely no reason to get anything else. I've had a Henckels 4 Star set for 15 years. When I got upset that they were so dull I started sharpening them. Then I started looking for something better and ended up with a few Japanese knives. I'm a home cook with poor knife skills. I can tell the difference between using my knives, but the end product of what I'm cooking comes out the same with either. Use what you like.
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Old 03-10-2009, 09:39 PM   #4
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Better quality knives will give you better quality steel that will hold a sharper edge for a longer period of time between sharpenings. If that doesn't matter, stick with what you have.
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Old 03-11-2009, 03:09 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldrustycars View Post
I have a bunch of knives. Never owned a set, just ones I picked up with register tapes, at Target, hardware store and wherever. I use a steel most every time I use one, and have a whetstone for sharpening. I feel theres no reason to buy expensive pro knives when I don't mind sharpening these cheapies, and they seem to work just fine. Comments?
I'll also say that if you're happy with what you have, great! BUT, since you asked for comments...

...Have you ever used a really good knife? I'm not sure what you're using now, but the best I've seen at most general retailers is Henckels and Wusthof. Both of these are pretty decent, and probably the best knives our J6P has ever seen. But those are pretty basic, low end knives compared to what's out there.

First, no matter how skilled you are they just won't get to that ultra-high-end of sharpness with those kinds of knives. Okay, big deal I can hear you say. And maybe it is no big deal. At least until you try something that gets sharper. Or until you find something that cut and you just can't get the results you want.

Secondly, better cutlery will not only get sharper but it will hold an edge longer. This may not be a big deal at home but it's an issue for those of us who cook for a living. Bad enough rockin' the line all nite without having to slave over the stone afterward.

Lastly, better knives are simply more fun to use. They tend to be lighter, better balanced and easier to hold. They also come in a variety of forms that are especially good at certain tasks (etc a yanagiba is wicked for making very thin slices of fish for nagiri).

Obviously if you're satisfied that's the final answer. But it can also be an "ignorance is bliss" thing. You may rue the day you handle and use your first really screaming-sharp Japanese knife.
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Old 03-11-2009, 07:53 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldrustycars View Post
I have a bunch of knives. Never owned a set, just ones I picked up with register tapes, at Target, hardware store and wherever. I use a steel most every time I use one, and have a whetstone for sharpening. I feel theres no reason to buy expensive pro knives when I don't mind sharpening these cheapies, and they seem to work just fine. Comments?
I never bought a set either - and think it is generally mistake to do so.
If you are happy with what you have fine!
Americas Test Kitchen tested chefs knives ranging in price from
20$ to well over 100.
Their best buy was a Forshner 7" knife for about $23.
I use a 7" Chinese knife from Dexter almost exclusively - this along
with a paring knife is enough for 90 % of my knife needs.
It wasn't cheap - I've had it at least 10 years - hone it on whetstone,
when it gets too dull - take it to a pro. sharpener.
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Old 03-11-2009, 09:07 AM   #7
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What Rob said.

99% of all kitchen knives are akin to a Ford Fiesta. They'll get you where you're going one way or another - most of the time.

.9% are more like the Buick Lucern with a more comfortable ride but lacking in performance.

.1% are the Ferraris of the industry, fast, agile, showy. Don't forget to take maintenance costs into consideration.
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Old 04-02-2009, 12:19 AM   #8
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Question for the knife pros here. I found an as new Wabaco 10" slicer. It's marked WABACO PROFESSIONAL-STAINLESS SOLINGEN-GERMANY. Stamped blade, riveted wooden scales. It seems well made, and when I Google, nothing. I'm guessing it's a cheap(er) knife, that's why I posted my question here. Thanks!
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Old 04-02-2009, 08:38 AM   #9
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whether it is some food service pro brand (NFS approved) or a German or Japanese name brand, whether "forged" , "stamped", or "machined", you want a knife with a sturdy blade (except for fillet and some slicing knives where flexibility is key) and comfortable handle, a good "chopping rock" and a proper balance. You can get all these in a knife that sells for $30 or one that costs $200. If properly maintained, your knife will serve you well.

I have a self selected "set" of food service pro knives I travel with. There are many cooking situations I don't want to bring my expensive fancy knives to. I always find myself thinking, "yeh, these are nice knives."

I work with a lot of professionals and no matter what they might advertise, what they actually use at work is often a basic sturdy food service pro knife (NFS approved)
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