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Old 05-19-2008, 10:56 AM   #1
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Knife Set

Ok, I am new to cutlery. What invoked me to come here was, I have a friend who is doing the whole cutco thing...he is trying to help pay for his college...I actually think I tried that route in college myself but a diff company. Anyways, I feel that the knife set is decent quality and certainly better than anything I had previously owned, but I feel that it is overpriced. So here I am, looking for something better and cheaper. My wife and I are looking for a good set with block..perhaps a medium set of 10-12 or so knives with steak knives. Now, the range we were looking at most to pay is 500-600(would stretch it, if the right deal was had), easy to maintain/sharpen, long lasting, ergonomically fit for smaller hands, and a nice appearence.

I was looking for some good suggestions. Mainly, my wife cooks a couple times a week and I cook occasionally. We are not as highly qualified as most people that I have read on this board so far (which I have only been reading about 20mins or so /shame on me). Let me know some opinions.

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Old 05-19-2008, 11:09 AM   #2
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First of all, WELCOME!

IMO, no one needs a knife set with 10-12 knives. Most professional chefs don't have that many. That's not a medium set, that's larger than most sets ever offer.

What I always recommend is not buying a set. Spend your money on quality rather than volume. Start with a good quality chef's knife or a santuko, a paring knife and a serrated bread knife. These three knives are the workhorses of the kitchen and will get just about anything you need done.

Then add pieces over time as you see fit.

As far as brands, go for quality. Shun, Wusthof, Global are good names. I'm sure people will chime in with others.

It is critically important to try knives before you buy them. It's like buying shoes, they need to fit propoerly. They must fit your hand and feel balanced and comfortable. It may be the case that you and your wife have different needs and then you might consider buying 2 different chef's knives
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Old 05-19-2008, 11:28 AM   #3
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I agree. You need a paring knife, a serated bread knife, a chef knife, and maybe a boning knife. If you are into butchering your own meat you may also want a cleaver and a simitar.

You can get good ones at a kitchen store from several well known companies: Calphalon, Wustoff, Henkels, etc. You can spend the $$$ or get their less $ household quality. You can go to a restaurant supply store (check local listings) and get professional food service knives. You'd be surprised that the pros don't use fancy knives, but quality basic steel kept razor sharp.

Get a diamond hone and a sharpener, learn to use it.

Forget Cutco and other thin steel machined edge unsharpenable knives.
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Old 05-19-2008, 03:39 PM   #4
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Try Gunter Willhelm Cutlery. I guarantee you won't find a better quality set of knives for 500 bucks anywhere.
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Old 05-19-2008, 05:50 PM   #5
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Welcome Chefmenot! I can't add anything to the advice above on type, or brands.

If you want to try different knives I'd suggest going to someplace like Marshall's , TJ Max, or Ross. You can sometimes find some great prices on good quality knives, cookware and other kitchen items.
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Old 05-19-2008, 09:02 PM   #6
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I recently was in the same situation as you. When it came time to upgrade, I went ala carte getting a Santoku and a paring knife first. Since then I've rounded out my set to about 6 knives total...10" Chef's knife, 9" bread knife", 6" utility, 6" boning, etc...I might pick up a few more, might not...there are a couple of other Chef's knives I'd like to try...Misono UX10 for one.
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Old 05-19-2008, 10:09 PM   #7
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Cutco, arrrggggghhhhh! Don't do it.

And don't buy a block set either. All you get is a bunch of low quality stainless steel overlaps. You don't need it.

So what *do* you need?

Chef's knife - here Stainless, easy care. Incredible edge. I strongly suspect (have my reasons) it's made of either Sandvik 13C26 or Udeholm AEB-L steel. This is what razor blades are made of.

Paring knife - here I think the best at any price.

Bread knife - here There is only one better in the entire world that I know of and it costs 2-3 times as much.

World's best peeler - here Bar none!

Some kind of boning knife. Use any medium length knife you already own.

A much better place to show them off than a blah boring wooden block - here
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Old 05-19-2008, 10:41 PM   #8
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I agree with Buzzard.
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Old 05-19-2008, 11:39 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jennyema View Post
First of all, WELCOME!

IMO, no one needs a knife set with 10-12 knives. Most professional chefs don't have that many. That's not a medium set, that's larger than most sets ever offer.
Arhggg! Me & Buzz would be the exceptions- we're got a bazillion knives! Okay, that said we're just knifenerds. Most sane people don't need nearly that many. I agree that you can do 95% of all the stuff you'd ever need to do with a good chef knife (8" or 10", as you prefer), a paring knife & a serrated bread knife. Beyond that there are a few other blades that you may find handy: a 5" - 6.5" santoku, 6" utility knife, bird's beak peeling knife, carving knife & 6" semi-flexible boning knife. Add that that however many steak knives you need to accomodate the entertaining you do and you're set.

I would have to agree that if you're starting from scratch and have a budget of $500-$600, a block isn't the best way to go. First off, most every block set throws in at least two completely worthless items: a "sharpening steel" and a set of kitchen shears. The latter has some usefullnes but that's an expensive way to buy one. Just pick up some shears open stock and save 75%. And don't waste your time with the coarse ribbed steels- they're murder on your knives and just chew up the edge. Save the money and buy a glass or ceramic hone; it will work much better and your knives will thank you.

You can always buy a block seperately for storage, but I'd probably go for a Mag-Blok instead. Much more attractive and useful.

As for knives, I think Buzzard gave you good advice. I use several Tojiros for work and they're great knives. If you ask around you'll find most of us knifegeeks will tell you Japanese knives are the way to go. They're sharper, lighter and sexier; plus, they hold an edge longer. I like the knives of Shun and Hattori, too.

Even so, German knives are still fine for home use. I like Messermeister better than the better known knives like Wusthof & Henckels.
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Old 05-19-2008, 11:43 PM   #10
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If you're dead set on a block set, you could do worse than this Messermeister set. Add some steak knives and you're all set. I mention this only because I understand that for some people having a matched set is important. Me, I'd rather pick and choose the best knives out there regardless of who makes them. So my chef knife might be a Shun, my bread knife might be a Mac, etc.
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