In the interest of full-disclosure, I am a CUTCO sales rep (and quite a good one in my opinion). :)
I have some things to say about the orignal post - and don't worry, I won't just feed you the lines that anyone who's gone through the CUTCO program has learned.
The information I'm about to present is based on the following background:
a. I'm a knife salesman, and have looked into many of the competitive, professional quality knives on the market (including personally visiting Solingen, Germany during my 10 months studying engineering in Germany).
b. I have come in contact with round-about 100 CUTCO owners and shared stories with many others.
1) The "inferior tempering" is a common complaint about CUTCO knives. Forged is generally accepted as a better quality. Personally, I think it's more of a buzzword quality than actually providing significant improvements in quality.
The most significant difference is the weight. Some people do prefer a heavier knife, but it's a personal preference - I've run into many people who appreciate a lighter knife.
2) Steel. I don't believe CUTCO actually claims they use the highest quality steel money can buy. Regardless, 440A is great steel. High carbon stainless steel is what you want to look for in good quality knife. According to the post, 440C is better - I don't have any arguments against that. The whole 440 family is good.
There actually are surgical and dental tools that use specifically 440A.
3) Lack of bolster. This is really a part of argument 1 - any knife that's not forged isn't going to have a bolster. The inferior balance is way too broad of an explanation. Not all bolster knives are balanced - not all non-bolster knives are imbalanced. The safety issue can be argued - but that's not the purpose of a bolster.
4) Double-D edge. CUTCO knives are extremely sharp - period. The rope and leather make for an impressive deomonstration, but you'll get similar results with anything - for instance the meat, bread, and tomatoes mentioned.
It's not a serrated edge - it just looks like one. Serrated knives cut with the points ^^^^ - the Double-D edge uses the recessed edges as described in the link provided earlier ( http://www.cutco.com/jsp/catalog/features.jsp
). The points will naturally dull, coming in contact with surfaces, bones, etc. But since they aren't essential to the cutting process (in CUTCO's case) performance is not hindered.
A properly used Double-D edge will make a clean cut through just about anything (within reason, of course).
All knives dull, and will need to be sharpened. CUTCO doesn't only sell Double-D edges, some have a standard straight-edge and most sets come with an easy to use sharpener for those. The Double-D edges do need to be sharpened by a professional though. As mentioned, for $5 or $8 you can send in your entire knife set and get a brand-new edge put on. I think that's a great deal, and so do most people I talk to. It is, of course, a bit of an inconvenience to be without your knives for a couple weeks. Some representatives are trained in sharpening the Double-D edges - call someone at your local office, and I'm sure they'd be more than happy to come out and service you (expect a sales pitch too).
5) Handles. Comfort and looks are completely subjective, so I won't talk about that aspect. There are many different types of "thermoresin." The type used in CUTCO handles is similar to that used in dishwasher spray nozzels, food mixer blades, automobile gears, pump housing and blades, and ski bindings. They can withstand temperature extremes from 300-350 degrees F.
6) Corrision can happen to any knife. Good thing CUTCO has a forever guarantee.
7) I think there are certain advantages and disadvantages to the direct sales method. Some disadvantages include not being able to compare high quality products side-by-side and that occaisionally a misinformed or disingenuous representative will say things that just aren't true. On the other hand, most of CUTCO's sale's reps know a lot more about their product than people you'll find in department stores or even specialty cutlery outlets.
8) Price. If, after seeing a full demonstration and using the knives yourself, you don't think they're worth it - then don't buy them. It's that simple. But don't make your decision based on the price tag and a few comments here and there.
In all my visits, I have met only one CUTCO owner who wasn't extremely satisfied with their knives. I love visiting CUTCO owners, because they almost always buy more. I think that really says something about the product.
Finally, I'd like to say that in my completely honest opinion, that CUTCO is not a knife that most professional chefs would use. But they're not really marketed for professionals, they're intended for home-use. And again, I've never had anyone complain about the quality.
Thanks for your time, sorry for the long response.
Feel free to ask me any questions, I'll do my best to answer.
This seems to be a nice forum, I think I'll be coming back often.