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Old 09-25-2008, 12:32 PM   #21
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No disrespect intended, but your definition of sharp vs. utility edge is not material, any more than mine is except to you or to me respectively. Many of our members, no doubt, have different viewpoints on what constitutes 'sharp'.

Sharp to me is being able to perpare ingredients without difficulty. My knife glides through the stuff I cook with. Slicing tomatos and other soft foods without crushing them, not having to struggle to get through a tougher/harder ingredient. I don't need or care that one of your knives can slice through a ripe tomato just from the weight of the blade alone. That's impressive in the abstract but of little practical benefit.

For most foodies, a knife that makes their food prep easy is all that matters. Few would be willing to spend 20-30 times the price of such a knife for an incremental difference.

As to how long the edge will last, I can get a knife professionally sharpened a lot of times for the difference in prices. It's a matter of allocation of resources. In place of a $2,000 knife, I can buy a half dozen less expensive knives that do all I need, a stand mixer with attachments, a food processor, some top quality pots and pans, a boatload of utensils and gadgets and enough food to feed my family for a week.
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Old 09-25-2008, 12:38 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Chico Buller View Post
The main problems here is just what do most folks define as "sharp" and how can we gauge "reasonably priced"?
I am not sure why this would be seen as a problem.

It is actually quite simple. Sharp is defined in the eyes of the knife owner. If they think their knife is sharp then it is sharp. the same holds true for what "reasonably priced" means.
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Old 09-25-2008, 12:50 PM   #23
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Don't they use those plastic handled food service jobs on Iron Chef?

I need one or two of those so I don't have to take my Lamsons out all the time. I'd like a Japanese sushi knife but I need to learn how to make sushi first. Even then, do I NEED it? No. It's the whole "experience" thing I guess.
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Old 09-25-2008, 12:50 PM   #24
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Andy, each one of those points is reasonable, and probably true for most of the demographic we are to find. However, there's a vast difference between "user" and "seller."

For example, let's suppose my knives were identical in construction, cost and keenness as everyone else's on the internet or in kitchen stores. Why would you bother with me?

The crux to any sale is the old canard "added value service." Even the idea that I was itinerant brought me clients. In fact, that aspect alone brings me new salon clients and better restaurants. The implements are "out of service" for shorter periods, never lost, and in a pinch immediately available.

This is very important with kitchen knives--in fact, crucial. I've had numerous clients tell me that they don't care about the knife at all. It's the edge for which they are paying.

Taken to the logical conclusion, it is entirely possible that the cost of maintenance will supercede the cost of the knife at some time during its useable lifetime. In fact, sometimes on the first sharpening.

This also effects clients who are very serious about cooking at home. Everyone has a favorite hobby, past-time or they have invested themselves in pro bono work, like cooking for a church.

And this is where I meet the foodies. The conversation begins, "Chico, can you recommend a knife to me..."

In fact, lots of my clients use sample knives in my home kitchen to actually feel the knife, and use a superior edge. I take their concerns very seriously.
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Old 09-25-2008, 01:08 PM   #25
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Most DC members want a sharp, reasonably priced, easy to use knife they can easily use to prepare food. If we didn't have such a knife and had to use a $5 piece of junk knife ourchased at the local supermarket in a bubble pack, we would still cook. It's not about the knife for us.
If most DC members don't really care about knives other than the requirement that they "cut" (which all knives do more or less), why even bother having a "Knives" sub forum? I'm curious as to why you used the term "us". Have you taken a poll?

At knifeforums.com there is a sub forum titled "In The Kitchen". Roughly half the members are professional chefs, some very high end. When cooking techniques and fantastic recipes are posted I never see any complaints because the posts aren't knife related or that the members are only interested in simple foods. Contrarily, many of us eat those recipes up. Heh.

I'm sure that there are plenty of DC lurkers who love to read about high end knives. The emphasis is on Japanese steel and geometry because they truly are much better food cutting instruments than knives manufactured in Germany, France, China, and the US. It's a fact. It is slowly turning around for what I find to be the weirdest of reasons. Rachel Ray and her cheap dull Santokus have sparked an interest by US consumers in particular so the various manufacturers are producing to meet this demand. Eventually the consumers will be asking for more and better (read thin, sharpen, and hard steel) and that new demand will be met. Until then, it's Japanese all the way. It's gourmet instead of meat and potatoes.

The knife is the single most important prep item in the kitchen. Precision cuts, sharpenability, edge retention, speed, and safety are all determined by the knife's characteristics. Once I learned what a good knife can do, I never looked back.
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Old 09-25-2008, 01:18 PM   #26
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Buzz, I would only add that most of the populace has never handled a Japanese knife. What they have come to know as "sharp" is not a universal standard.

And I have seen the look in their eyes.

Tragically, many people feel that Rachael Ray's santuko is Japanese.
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Old 09-25-2008, 01:35 PM   #27
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There is absolutely nothing wrong with knife aficionados talking shop in the knife forum. Have at it.

I was responding to Chico's comment that he found it odd members didn't go out and buy Japanese knives. I was trying to explain differing perspectives in support of my explanation.

I have been reading threads/posts about knives here at DC for years so I feel I have a pretty good idea what many members want. Various members here use everything from Cutco to Global and Japanese knives and everything in between. Some send their knives out for professional sharpening, some use the electric sharpener on the back of their can opener and others use various equipment to sharpen their own knives.

The point I was making was that it's not appropriate to apply a professional tinker's standards to judge the average foodie's wants and needs in the cutlery department.

As the interest in food and cooking grows, the demand for better equipment goes along with it. How far that goes is open to discussion.
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Old 09-25-2008, 01:47 PM   #28
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How far that goes is open to discussion.
With one proviso.

Let's suppose that a forum member here decided to explore better knives. Would you consider it wise, or even polite to respond, "I'm sorry, those knives are for professionals only."

Of course not. On the face, it's simply rude. (And lousy business.)

For a forum member to widen their horizons they have to push the envelope. In fact, one cutler I know says that 99% of the populace does not know what a sharp knife really is.

I tend to agree. Even five years ago you could not sell a Japanese knife to anyone but a professional chef.
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Old 09-25-2008, 02:05 PM   #29
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As the interest in food and cooking grows, the demand for better equipment goes along with it. How far that goes is open to discussion.
I totally agree. We all like quality. Mercedes Benz, Bordeaux, All-Clad, USDA Prime beef to name a few. The demand for higher end knives will indeed increase because we live in an information world and the word is getting out. The Japanese kept all this secret from us for seven hundred years until they plugged into the Internet and someone ratted.

Here's a prediction for you: Within ten years the German manufacturers and even Chicago Cutlery will be making knives that will 80-90% as nice as the highest end Japanese blades available today at much lower prices. Quality control with a company like Wusthof is a no brainer. The steel used is going to be, if they can get enough of it, Swedish Uddehom AEB-L or Sandvik 13C26. It is relatively inexpensive versus the Japanese Hitachi exotics and is capable of taking any sort of edge you'd like to give it. Razor blades are made of this steel for good reason. As a bonus, it's stainless. These future consumer knives will come factory sharpened at around fifteen degrees per side and the user won't have to have a few hundred dollars worth of sharpening equipment to maintain them. Shun already has an electric sharpener that matches the sixteen degree angles put on all of their knives. Chef's Choice has an electric that they claim will handle Oriental knives. Todays sharpeners are set to twenty-two degrees per side which is about as sharp as a hammer relative to what will become the new, fifteen degree standard.

Ah, the world will be a better place, love, peace, Cuban cigars....
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Old 09-25-2008, 02:52 PM   #30
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Yikes......maybe I walked through the wrong door
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