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Old 06-06-2007, 05:36 AM   #1
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ISO knife & sharpener recommendation for beginner

Hi,

I'm looking to buy my first good knife and so far am leaning towards

- Wusthof Grand Prix 8" Cooks Knife (does anyone know the difference b/w the Grand Prix and the Classic range)? This is about $55 at Amazon.
- Lansky Knife Sharpening System (not sure which one to get). I want to have some kind of sharpening system that is good and also easy to use as I'm not very good at sharpening things but if there is a good option I could get my husband to do it instead :) Is there another option for sharpening that I have missed? The Lansky was mentioned a few times in previous threads so I just assumed it would be the best option. How often does aperson need to sharpen the knife?

The other thing I'm confused about is the 'steel' people mention to use every time. Is the steel and the sharpening system two different things? What steel would you recommend for the above knife?

Any help would be appreciated. My budget is about $100 for a good overall knife and a sharpening system (though if needed I could go over). Later on I can add more knives on.

Thankyou!

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Old 06-06-2007, 06:34 AM   #2
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Hi, Turando. Welcome back.

The Grand Prix line is highly regarded.

I use the Lansky system and I am very pleased with the results. I use this product. It takes a lot of the guesswork out of the sharpening process.

The steel is used, not to sharpen, but to maintain the knife edge between sharpenings. It re-aligns the edge of the knife and should be employed after every use.
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Old 06-06-2007, 07:22 AM   #3
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while the wusthof if a great knife
as a chef trying to teach apprentices, i always suggest a forschner aka victorinox

while not as glamorous as the wusthof, it is much more utilitarian and less expensive
good qualities while learning to use a knife and sharpener
while i have never used a sharpening system i hear good things about them
but i have always sharpened my knives by hand
and i teach that same way
so if an apprentice ends up ruining the knife it is no big deal
i sharpen by hand because while the 15 degrees works well for most knives i have a few that i sharpen at 12
and some of my sushi knives are sharpened only on one side

good luck to you
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Old 06-06-2007, 08:54 AM   #4
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The Wusthof and the Forchner Victorionox Fibrox (about $25 at Amazon) are both excellent knives. If you're just getting started, get to know your local butcher and see if they sharpen knives. Mine does and it's only a few bucks per knife. Since I'm not a professional cook, once a year is about right for me.

Difference between the Grand Prix and Classic - Grand Prix has a solid molded handle, and the classic has 2-3 rivets holding the scales in place. Go to a store that sells knives and hold them... see how they feel in your hand. I like the Grand Prix II knives much more than the original Grand Prix - there was a ridge between the handle and metal that just gave me a blister if I used it too long. The ridge is much less pronounced with the newer models.

As for the steel, the edge of a knife will bend slightly during use. A steel helps bring that edge back to true where it will work the best. A steel will never help a dull knife. I don't know if it makes a difference, but I use the steel from the same manufacturer of the knife - so if I'm using my Wusthof, I'll use my Wusthof steel. Just seems to me that the materials are going to be more compatible if I'm using the one designed for my knife.

Anyone else want to chime in on that? Does using a steel from a different manufacturer matter? Would one get better results using a compatible steel and blade or will any brand steel do?
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Old 06-06-2007, 09:40 AM   #5
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I've heard that you should do that. However, all the steel is doing is "unbending" the edges so, IMO, it just has to be made of harder steel than the knife's.
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Old 06-06-2007, 09:59 AM   #6
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Turnado, it sounds like you have done your homework and have a good grasp on what you need and don't need as well as want and don't want.

All the info you have gotten in this thread has been spot on so I will not repeat anything.

I have used the Lansky system that Andy gave you a link for and while I did like it I actually switched to this one. I fine it easier for me than Andy's system. Both are great though.
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Old 06-07-2007, 12:46 AM   #7
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For sharpening the best on the market is the Spyderco sharpmaker; it's easier to use than the lansky system and the stones won't wear out, also, it doesn't need any oil. I've been using mine for three years now and my knives are so sharp I can toss a silk scarf in the air and the scarf will cut itself in half as it falls. Retails for around fiddy bucks. New Graham Knives - Detail
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Old 06-07-2007, 05:10 AM   #8
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Hi everyone,

Thanks for all your help and recommendations. I'll check out the Forchner Victorionox as well for a 2nd knife that my husband can use when he helps me out.

Am I correct in assuming I'm going to need a steel as well as the sharpening system for the knives? I was thinking to get a diamond steel as they seem to be the highly recommended ones. Are they hard to use? I'm scared of wrecking things.

GB: That's the one I was thinking to get based on your previous recommendation. Anything that is easier is good for me :)

Thanks!
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Old 06-07-2007, 06:41 AM   #9
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the steel you should use on a daily basis
i do before and after i use a knife
it hones the edge
during use or storage the edge can be misaligned


i use a diamond steel made by dexter-russell
fairly inexpensive
i suggest the fine not coarse
the coarse is similiar to using a sharpening stone and can erode your knife quickly

most important thing about the steel is to make sure it has a good and wide hand protector at the top of the handle unless you are really sure of your technique
speaking of technique
ask your local butcher to show you how to properly do so
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Old 06-07-2007, 08:43 AM   #10
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Personally I tend to shy away from diamond steels as they do take metal off the blade. If I want to remove metal then I sharpen my knives. I like to stick with a regular steel.

Yes you will absolutely need a steel. You should use it every time you use your knife. I got myself into the habit of steeling the blade before I use it to cut anything. I take 10-15 passes over the steel which takes about 6 or 7 seconds.

Turando, if you do end up with the sharpener that I showed, make sure to buy the little earaser they sell with it (check out the lansky site and I am sure you will find it on there). That is used to get rid of the metal that accumulates on the rods as you use it.

The system that Michael Cook linked looks basically like the same thing I have, but his has the ability to sharpen cerated blades which is a nice feature.
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