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Old 11-30-2008, 08:39 PM   #1
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Looking to buy a nice chopping-style knife for xmas...

This is a girl I want to impress and hopefully date, after she dumps her current bf, mind you. :P

Looking for a good chopping style machete thingamajiggie, of this general form-factor:

http://www.chefscatalog.com/img/prod.../21752_285.jpg

Hope to spend between $100 and $200 (you can get a pretty decent one for that, can't you?)

Open to all suggestions - this is not my area of expertise.

Thanks!

-SFF

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Old 11-30-2008, 09:11 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by sherifffruitfly View Post
This is a girl I want to impress and hopefully date, after she dumps her current bf, mind you. :P

Looking for a good chopping style machete thingamajiggie, of this general form-factor:

http://www.chefscatalog.com/img/prod.../21752_285.jpg

Hope to spend between $100 and $200 (you can get a pretty decent one for that, can't you?)

Open to all suggestions - this is not my area of expertise.

Thanks!

-SFF

While it may superficially look like a chopping knife or cleaver, the knife you link to is actually a very delicate style of vegetable knife (nakiri) by Shun. While it's a very nice knife it's not really designed to chop stuff but rather to make very precise cuts.

I'm not entirely clear what you intend to do with the knife, or rather what she will use it for. For "chopping", depending upon what you plan to chop, I'd normally recommend a chef's knife or a cleaver. The former is great for almost all kitchen duties save delicate paring jobs and (arguably) cutting bread. The latter is good for cutting thru things like chicken with bones. A lot of people use lightweight cleavers for nearly all kitchen prep, btw.
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Old 11-30-2008, 09:54 PM   #3
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I use a Scanpan Damastahl Nakiri chopper. I find it excellent for tomatoes and onions in particular and julienning in general.

It's the same excellent VG-10 steel with damscus cladding as the Shun, but you should be able to get it much cheaper than a Shun. Here's a link to a reputable Australian online store that has it for a price that should translate to comfortably under $100 US after shipping costs. Buy Scanpan Damastahl Knives Online in Australia and Save!

The only caveat I put on it is that the edge is factory sharpened to a European style 22 degrees not a Japanese 16 degrees, but half an hour on a stone will fix that.

The handle has very good ergonomics and the weight is balanced at the bolster.

If you're prepared to put a little love into it you'll be rewarded with an excellent knife that not only performs well but looks good too.
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Old 11-30-2008, 09:57 PM   #4
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I think the OP is looking for a santoku.
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Old 11-30-2008, 10:07 PM   #5
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While it may superficially look like a chopping knife or cleaver, the knife you link to is actually a very delicate style of vegetable knife (nakiri) by Shun. While it's a very nice knife it's not really designed to chop stuff but rather to make very precise cuts.

I'm not entirely clear what you intend to do with the knife, or rather what she will use it for. For "chopping", depending upon what you plan to chop, I'd normally recommend a chef's knife or a cleaver. The former is great for almost all kitchen duties save delicate paring jobs and (arguably) cutting bread. The latter is good for cutting thru things like chicken with bones. A lot of people use lightweight cleavers for nearly all kitchen prep, btw.
Cleaver!! I couldn't remember the word! hahah!

Yes, that's what I'm looking form.

I *did* say "that general form factor", of course, and did not say "I wanted one of *those* for chopping".

Thanks for being there to back-up my memory!
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Old 11-30-2008, 10:09 PM   #6
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I think the OP is looking for a santoku.
Oooh! Sort of a knife-cleaver mashup - I like it! Can you recommend any nice brand/quality examples?
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Old 11-30-2008, 10:13 PM   #7
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Oooh! Sort of a knife-cleaver mashup - I like it! Can you recommend any nice brand/quality examples?
Any mainstream brand will be fine. Make sure it's forged steel. you may want to buy a shorter 5-6" santoku and a matching paring knife. My wife doesn't care for large knives.
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Old 11-30-2008, 10:17 PM   #8
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Any mainstream brand will be fine. Make sure it's forged steel. you may want to buy a shorter 5-6" santoku and a matching paring knife. My wife doesn't care for large knives.
This Wusthof seems to be a well-regarded example of a well-regarded brand, at a good price on Amazon:

Amazon.com: Wüsthof Classic 7-Inch Hollow Edge Santoku Knife: Home & Garden
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Old 11-30-2008, 10:54 PM   #9
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This is a girl I want to impress and hopefully date, after she dumps her current bf, mind you. :P
You are too funny!
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Old 11-30-2008, 11:03 PM   #10
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I've found that Chef's knives do slicing better and chinese cleaver/nakiris do chopping better and Santokus are jack of all trades but master of none.

Of the Wusthof lines I like their Classic Ikon the best.

Keep an eye out on the international stores too. For example the Australian Dollar has dived vis-a-vis the US dollar, so whilst the Aussie stores are keeping their prices constant for the benefit of domestic buyers if you're buying in Yankee dollars you get a substantial saving.
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Old 11-30-2008, 11:32 PM   #11
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There are no performance benifits to a knife being forged, it doesn't make them harder or hold an edge any longer.
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Old 11-30-2008, 11:38 PM   #12
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There are no performance benifits to a knife being forged, it doesn't make them harder or hold an edge any longer.
Hmmm. I get the feeling this is something of a religious war amongst those who are in-the-know.

I'll step back slowly.

:)
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Old 11-30-2008, 11:43 PM   #13
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Hmmm. I get the feeling this is something of a religious war amongst those who are in-the-know.

I'll step back slowly.

:)
nope, no war, just an old myth.
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Old 12-01-2008, 12:22 AM   #14
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nope, no war, just an old myth.
In the olden days with unreliable steel quality forging did help prevent blades snapping. The main benefit now is the bolster which many people find more comfortable for use.

But in terms of edge performance forging doesn't do terribly much, if anything at all.
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Old 12-01-2008, 01:06 AM   #15
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In the olden days with unreliable steel quality forging did help prevent blades snapping. The main benefit now is the bolster which many people find more comfortable for use.

But in terms of edge performance forging doesn't do terribly much, if anything at all.

And in many cases, the bolster is designed such that how much the knife can be sharpened is limited, which effectively shortens the useful life of the knife.

I think that European knife companies do tend to use their best steels in their forged blades, but Japanese companies don't necessarily have that tendency.
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Old 12-01-2008, 01:27 AM   #16
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You are too funny!
It's TRUE! He's a worthless mooch pothead. She knows I'm really much better for her. She's coming around to realizing this, and I need to drive the point home!
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Old 12-01-2008, 03:14 AM   #17
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And in many cases, the bolster is designed such that how much the knife can be sharpened is limited, which effectively shortens the useful life of the knife.

I think that European knife companies do tend to use their best steels in their forged blades, but Japanese companies don't necessarily have that tendency.

Thats actually incorrect. A majority of japanese manufactuers use steel from Hitachi metals. Ao-ko and Shiro-ko steels have very tight tolerances from the steel mills and give very consistant results when heat treated.
Add the "stainless" versions from japan, such as Cowry-y and ZDP189, and they are some of the finest steels in the world.
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Old 12-01-2008, 03:20 AM   #18
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In the olden days with unreliable steel quality forging did help prevent blades snapping. The main benefit now is the bolster which many people find more comfortable for use.

But in terms of edge performance forging doesn't do terribly much, if anything at all.

Back in the day..."days of Yor" etc..

steels were forged to work out some of the impurities, and simply because forging is an efficient was of using metal. The japanese actually add corbon to the steel as part of the forging process of tamahaganae.
Proper heat treating is what determines if a blade is soft/hard flexable/brittle.
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Old 12-01-2008, 06:23 AM   #19
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Thats actually incorrect. A majority of japanese manufactuers use steel from Hitachi metals. Ao-ko and Shiro-ko steels have very tight tolerances from the steel mills and give very consistant results when heat treated.
Add the "stainless" versions from japan, such as Cowry-y and ZDP189, and they are some of the finest steels in the world.
Either you misunderstood my comment or I'm not understanding yours because as far as I can tell, what you are saying does not contradict what I said. I have a feeling it was you not understanding me because I'm not a very good writer and I really did have trouble composing that last sentence to communicate what I was trying to say and not sound extemely awkward.

What I was trying to say was that the Japanese knife companies, unlike European knife companies, will use their best steel in knives that are not forged.
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Old 12-01-2008, 08:24 AM   #20
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This Wusthof seems to be a well-regarded example of a well-regarded brand, at a good price on Amazon:

Amazon.com: Wüsthof Classic 7-Inch Hollow Edge Santoku Knife: Home & Garden
Yes, Wusthof makes a great knife. Just remember that if she has small hands she might feel more comfortable with the smaller santoku. A matching paring knife or utility knife would be a nice compliment.
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