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Old 01-14-2005, 08:58 AM   #1
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Recommendations on good chef knives?

I watch these cooking shows (especially Rachael Ray) and see the knives they use are extremely sharp. Currently I use my Chicago Cutlery chef knife and I sharpen it on the supplied sharpening stick about every other day. It still doesn't seem sharp enough. I like the knife that Rachael Ray uses.

Does anyone have any recommendations for a good quality knife set? Or at least a brand? I don't mind paying up to $100.00 for a quality chef knife. After all my birthday is coming up soon :D

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Old 01-14-2005, 09:13 AM   #2
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There are many brands out there that are very good. Chicago Cutlery, from what I have heard, is a good brand at an inexpensive price. I think part of your problem is the "sharpening stick". It is actually called a steel and it does not sharpen the blade, it only hones it. What that means is that it realigns the blade. Every time you use your knife the blade sort of folds over on itself on a microscopic level. The steel straightens it out again. It will not make a dull knife sharp though. It is good that you use the steel often. Actually you should use it ever time you use your knife.

If you like the knives you have and don't want to spend the money on new ones then you might want to take your CC knives to a professional to have them sharpened or by a sharpening system. The one I like is the Lansky system. I find it very easy to use and it takes all the guesswork out of getting a good edge. I paid about $40 for my Lanksy system and I love it.

If you decide that you want to get new knives anyway then there are a ton of good brands. Global, Wustoff, Henkles, and many many others. The most important thing is to hold them in your hand and make sure they are comfortable. It is just like buying shoes. It needs to fit. It doesn't matter how good the knife is, if it doesn't feel right then it is useless.

I am going to move this thread to the Cookware and Accessories heading as it fits better under there.
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Old 01-14-2005, 09:25 AM   #3
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Thanks GB for moving the thread and your comments. I do have Wustoff steak knives and I like them a lot.

I understand your description of the "steel". I think I would still like to get a good quality chef knife but still have my CC knives sharpened for my wife to use (she burns water :? )
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Old 01-14-2005, 09:54 AM   #4
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LOL too funny :)

I have Wustoff Grand Prix knives and I love them. They feel perfect in my hand and I like the weight. That is another thing to consider. Some people like a knife with some weight to it and others like a lighter knife. The lighter it is the less fatigued your hands will be after a lot of chopping and stuff like that. For me, that is not a concern because I am never using my knife THAT much that my hands would tire and I do like the feel of a bit of weight. Now if I were cooking professionally that would probably be a different story.
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Old 01-14-2005, 10:35 AM   #5
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I like my Henkles' "pro-S" knives Nice weight, quality product. Look at this thread too......http://discusscooking.com/viewtopic.php?t=6586

http://discusscooking.com/viewtopic.php?t=6767
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Old 01-14-2005, 04:12 PM   #6
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I just got a 10" Shun Kershaw Cook's Knife. I love the thing to death... it is razor sharp and the blade is made of VG-10 steel. With a rockwell hardness between 60-62 this blade should hold it's edge for a really long time. I guess it falls into the "lighter knife" category, which I will admit I would like a bit heavier knife. I guess it doesnt really matter though because I would never thing of hacking up chicken bones with it or anything. The hand is sort of D shaped and I find it very very comfotable.

It is really a personal preference and you could probably start a big debate about which knife is best... but honestly I would tend to lean towards Japanese knife makers. Global, Mac, Shun (kai), etc.

Check out the looks of this though...

http://www.kershawknives.com/kitchen/images/707CRO.jpg
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Old 01-14-2005, 04:20 PM   #7
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That sure is a purdy knife!!!
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Old 01-14-2005, 04:31 PM   #8
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Another thing I should mention is the bolster (the thick metan where the blad and handle meet). I like knives with an abbreviated bolster. All that means is that the bolster doesnt go all the way to the blade. I have seem some knives with a full bolster that (after a lot of sharpening) the bolster sticks down a little further than the blade and can make shopping things up very tricky.
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Old 01-14-2005, 04:35 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swinchen
It is really a personal preference and you could probably start a big debate about which knife is best... but honestly I would tend to lean towards Japanese knife makers. Global, Mac, Shun (kai), etc.

Check out the looks of this though...

http://www.kershawknives.com/kitchen/images/707CRO.jpg
It's really not my intent to find out what is the "best" knife. I am just looking for a professional knife and not a consumer knife.
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Old 01-14-2005, 10:15 PM   #10
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I was given a Croma 10 inch Chef's knife for Christmas 2 years ago. I steel it with each use nad have had to lightly sharpen it 1 time in that 2 years of daily use. It is on the lighter side, but is very sturdy, and slices through everything from the most delicate tomatoes, or meat, to tough rutabega, and acor squash. I have yet to find a food that this knife doesn't move effortlessy through. It's handle is all metal and is blended to the blade seamlessly and so is exceptinally easy to clean. Do a Google search for Croma Cutlery. The knife looks very unique, and the handle design makes chopping, slicing, and general cutting shores supremely simple. I even use the knige for vegetable detailing. Control is just that good.

I love the Shun blade as it has grain and texture, and is a beautiful and formidible steel. But I love the feel and fit of the Croma knife. I purchased my son a Croma Santoku knife (same blade shape as what Rachel Ray uses). He has cooked proffesionaly for several years now, and says that this knife is the finest he has used anywear. He bought a set of proffesional knives from a restaurant supply outfit and says that the knife I got him blows the others out of the water.

I know that knives a very personal thing. My oldest son doesn't like the feel of the Croma. He preffers a more traditional handle, like that found on Henkels, or Wusthoff Triden. But for me, I fell in love at first use with the Croma. It's a $90 + knife, but well worth its price.

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Old 01-14-2005, 10:24 PM   #11
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I do want a heavier knife about 10" long with a wooden handle. And I too believe that a knife is a personal thing, kinda like my construction tools.
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Old 01-15-2005, 01:38 AM   #12
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I have to "ditto" most of everything GB said.

There is nothing wrong with Chicago Cutlery knives - it sounds like you just need to get yours sharpened. Trust me - even a $1,000 knife isn't going to be any fun to use if it isn't sharp, and a $25 knife can be a joy if it is sharp.

Step 1: Break out your yellow pages and look under "KNIVES" and find a knife shop near you - call them up and ask who they would recommend to professionally sharpen your knives. Get them sharpened!

Step 2: Visit a knife shop and talk to them about how to sharpen your knives - and what you need to do the job at home. These guys are passionate about knives and will be glad to spend time talking to you. They will also be happy to explain the differences between good and bad knives.

Step 3: If you still want to buy a new knife - go around to various stores and "test drive" a few until you find the one you want. The knife has to have good balance and feel good in YOUR hand before you will enjoy using it. Remember, the TV Chefs get paid to use the knives they do on TV - you won't!
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Old 01-24-2007, 06:52 PM   #13
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try out several. get comfortable with the weight and ballance. Make sure it rocks a bit on the board as you cut. keep it sharp.
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Old 01-26-2007, 12:31 PM   #14
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You might want to read my posting in the What Knives Do I Need? thread.
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Old 02-27-2007, 10:27 AM   #15
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I'm partial to an 8" chefs, but I own a global santoku and a forschner fibrox chefs. The global stays wrapped up in a towel and the forschner gets all the use! I love it.
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Old 02-27-2007, 10:41 AM   #16
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I'll second GB's praise of the Wusthof Grand Prix knives. I use one, chef uses the same one I do, and has had it for about 6 years now. The handles aren't wooden, but they're great knives.

Another set of knives I like a lot, but do not personally own, is the Meridian Elite series knives by Messermeister. A couple of guys at work use these, and they keep an edge incredibly well. My next knife purchase will likely be a Meridian Elite. I do believe they have wooden handles, as well.
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Old 03-24-2007, 07:41 AM   #17
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Though too poor a college students for anything more than cheap Walmart knives just yet, I worked in a kitchen store for two summers and met many customers who swore by our Henkels or Wusthof, buying one and coming back for more or a set.

It seemed a personal preference which brand was prefered, so spend some time in a good shop seeing how each feels to you. Look for good weight and balance, but most imporantly, look carefully at which line you are buying. It really is worth it to invest in a few top of the line knives which will last a lifetime (and have a warranty to that effect). Both brands offer lower cost versions, but they are definately lower value. Shorter warranty period, cheaper metal, less weight and balance. Some of the uber-budget Henkels International blades felt just plain flimsy.

So don't just see the brand name and think you are grabbing a deal, if you spend much time in your kitchen at all it's worth saving up for the expense- a good knife really does make a difference!
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Old 03-28-2007, 09:43 AM   #18
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Ebay is your friend

Once you have decided what knife or knives you like, keep an eye on Ebay for prices. Yes, you can pick them up in the store at full price and take them home immediately (like me, $325 for a knife set I bought) or you can watch the auctions, strike when the iron is hot and snag a great deal. I bought my parents a Henckels four-star set of seven knives and the block for $100. Someone received them as a wedding gift and didn't want them.

My favorite knives so far are:
Shun 6" serrated utility knife
Henckels 4-star 10" chef's knife
Wusthof Grand-prix 8" chef's knife

Santuko's are ok. I have one or two, but I don't find myself using them unless the other knives are busy in other projects. A good paring knife is a must - and I still haven't found the one I really love. Shun's next.

Good luck and have fun!
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Old 03-28-2007, 11:18 AM   #19
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Do some research on blade shapes and the differing shapening techniques. Chicago Cutlery used to always use the Hollow ground sharpening technique. It creates a concave shap from about half way up the blade to the cutting edge. It is easy to manufacture as the knife is simply run between vertically circling grinding wheels. The method produces a very sharp factory edge. The problem with this grind is that as the knife is resharpened, the edge metal width grows exonentially and becomes progressively harder to sharpen. Also, the hollow grind causes the knife to "wedge" itself through hard veggies such as carrots, cabbage, winter squashes, etc. This make the cutting chore much more difficult.

Chicago Cutlery now sells knives sharpened with a straight grind. That is, the blade thickness decreases in a straight line from the spine to the cutting edge. This surves to decrease the force required to push through hard veggies. The knife slices through rather than wedges itself through.

Chisel grinds are very sharp and easy to sharpen. But the knives tend to angle themselves either into or out of the straight and desired path do to the fact that only one side of the blade is sharpened.

Each sharpening technique has its strenghts and weaknesses.

When you are sharpening your knife, there are also techniques to consider. The V-edge is the simplest knife edge to create and sharpen. It is achieved by runing the knife edge forward through successively finer ginding stones, usually lubricated with oil or water, at about a 30 degree angle until the knife is as sharp as you desire. The edge cuts cleanly and easily, but also, is the easiest of the edge shapes to dull. It requires a lot of maintenance.

A better edge is the compound edge. This edge starts with sharpening as for a V-edge. After that edge is complete, the knife is again sharpend at a steeper 40 degree angle. This makes the edge less prone to folding and it holds its shape longer. It is a more time consuming task however.

Finally, the convex edge is the strongest, and intially, the hardes edge to produce. It is achieved by changing the grind angle cotinuously from almost paralell to the blade, to about 40 degrees. This creates an edge that arcs from the top of the cutting edge to the cutting edge in a convex, or outward curve. It is the strongest of the edge shapes. This edge has the advantage of being sharper, and holding its edge much longer than either the V or the compound edges. And once it is achieved, is easy to maintain simply by steeling, or when the knife does begin to dull, grinding after the same manner that was used to originally shape the edge.

I took the time to reshape my Chroma 10" chef's knife with the convex edge. It made a significant difference in the knife's performance, in a very good way. I also own some Chicago cutlery knives with the hollow-ground blade. Even these slice through meats much easier.

And remember, the weight of the knife isn't nearly as important as how sharp the edge is. A light and sharp knive will slice through carrots and celery with ease. A heavier, and equally sharp knife will do the same. But if you have to do a lot of knife work, the heavier blade will cause fatigue much faster.

A heavier blade does chop better. Think of the difference between the spliting power of an axe, and an 8 lb. splitting maul. The heavier maul actually is easier to use as the mass applies greater energy to the wood being split than does the lighter mass of an axe head. It takes a bit more to get it moving, but once moving, it has far greater kinetic energy.

I would opt for heavy if I were purchasing a knife or cleaver for chopping.

One more thing, the curve on the blade's cutting edge is called the belly. For slicing chores, select knives with more belly. This surves to lengthen the edge with respect to the blade length, giving you more slicing length per stroke.

For chopping chores, the cutting edge should be more straight, giving you more surface that contacts the food with each chop.

Hope this helps.

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Old 03-28-2007, 11:55 AM   #20
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Craftsman or Snap on....<smiles> couldnt pass that one up
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