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Old 07-18-2008, 12:51 PM   #1
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Sabatier - ****Elephant Chef Knife

Any opinions on Sabatier Thiers-Issard ****Elephant 10" chef knife? So far i ve been using German/German Style knives and am used to the "rocking" style of cutting. Does the French shape of the blade affect the style of cutting?
I do have some sentimental reasons to consider Sabatier and this is a case of wanting it rather than needing it, however i do want to be able to use it on everyday bases. Also I am a home cook and my purely "cutting" needs are rather small - i ussually prepare food for 2 to 8 people at the most. Please share your experiences with this brand and can u recommend certain internet vendors (not sure if u can do this on DC)?
Thank you.

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Old 07-18-2008, 03:49 PM   #2
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NOTE: for those who are wondering ... the **** is not a word censor gotcha'. Thiers-Issard have been hand-crafting knives in Thiers, France, under the Sabatier brand with the **** Elephant logo.
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Old 07-28-2008, 12:41 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by chessplayer View Post
Any opinions on Sabatier Thiers-Issard ****Elephant 10" chef knife? So far i ve been using German/German Style knives and am used to the "rocking" style of cutting. Does the French shape of the blade affect the style of cutting?
I do have some sentimental reasons to consider Sabatier and this is a case of wanting it rather than needing it, however i do want to be able to use it on everyday bases. Also I am a home cook and my purely "cutting" needs are rather small - i ussually prepare food for 2 to 8 people at the most. Please share your experiences with this brand and can u recommend certain internet vendors (not sure if u can do this on DC)?
Thank you.
Without knowing your sentimental reasons I can tell you that you're looking at way too much knife for "small" cutting requirements. First of all, French an Japanese profile knives don't "rock" nearly as well as their German counterparts. In my opinion, rocking is overrated and all too touted by television cooking shows. You don't need to rock to get the job done, see and .

For perspective, the knife on the left end is a Murray Carter Nakiri with a length of 6 sun (7 1/8") and the knife second from the right is a fifty year old TI Sabatier 4 star elephant measuring just under 11".

Third from the left is a Takeda 240mm (9.4") Gyuto and this is as big as I like for home cooking use.



These three are all old Sab 4 stars. The one in the middle is 9" and that's just about perfect.






If your sentimentality is for TI Sabs, the Importer is Sabatier Kitchen Knives at The Best Things. Their prices are good but check the return policy as my experience with these new Sabs shows a lack of QC over in Thiers, the usual problem being bent or misaligned blades.
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Old 07-29-2008, 09:26 PM   #4
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Thanks Buzzard767. Most informative indeed. I think I am going to fork $110 pretty soon on the 10". However you mentioning QC issues did make me come up with one more question. Are there any Sabatier knifes made by other factories that you consider better? I have heard about Sabatier Diamant and I have seen some with a "grape" logo on the handle in most of Anne Villan's books. Any opinions?
Or those videos on YouTube are most impressive...Makes me wonder about cleavers... I better not go there - this world of cutlery seems to be very addictive, make u wanna buy stuff all the time...
The pictures are very nice too. Is the magnetic strip covered with wood? Certainly looks most impressive. Thank you.
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Old 07-30-2008, 08:40 AM   #5
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Thanks Buzzard767. Most informative indeed. I think I am going to fork $110 pretty soon on the 10". However you mentioning QC issues did make me come up with one more question. Are there any Sabatier knifes made by other factories that you consider better? I have heard about Sabatier Diamant and I have seen some with a "grape" logo on the handle in most of Anne Villan's books. Any opinions?
Or those videos on YouTube are most impressive...Makes me wonder about cleavers... I better not go there - this world of cutlery seems to be very addictive, make u wanna buy stuff all the time...
The pictures are very nice too. Is the magnetic strip covered with wood? Certainly looks most impressive. Thank you.
Thiers-Issard is one of the original Sabatier companies and I know of no ther company making a knife under the "Sabatier" name that produces a better knife. Read this little blurb I wrote last year to promote some sales.

I would advise against the nogent handled series as this is the line in which I found some alignment problems.

You will probably get a lot more satisfaction from the carbon blades as opposed to stainless steel. Carbon can be made much more sharp.

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Old 08-29-2008, 04:28 PM   #6
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Buzz and Chessplayer:
I'm slowly joining the ranks of the knife-aholics on this forum.

I recently purchased the 10" Thiers-Issard carbon steel chef knife from "The Best Things," as you two have been discussing. The version I selected is the french pattern chef with a Red Stamina (simulated rosewood) handle. See attached pic that I took.

Sure enough, the blade has a slight alignment issue. I spoke to the owner of The Best Things on the phone for awhile about it yesterday, and he mentioned the fact that ALL of the Thiers-Issard **** Elephant Sabatier knives have slight alignment issues, and that he has been back-and-forth with the suppliers regarding this many times, over and over again.

As he related, the french suppliers refer to this misalignment issue as a "feature" of handmade knives ---(as opposed to a "defect,") ---a choice of words that I actually find quite amusing. I've decided to keep the knife, and enjoy using it despite the minor curve in the blade; it's definitely there, but not completely unacceptable to me.

Maybe I'll feel differently if I accidentally give myself an involutary manicure...!
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Old 08-29-2008, 04:32 PM   #7
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Oops, here's the image from my previous post...
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Old 08-29-2008, 05:24 PM   #8
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As he related, the french suppliers refer to this misalignment issue as a "feature" of handmade knives ---(as opposed to a "defect,") ---a choice of words that I actually find quite amusing. I've decided to keep the knife, and enjoy using it despite the minor curve in the blade; it's definitely there, but not completely unacceptable to me.
That's just the French covering their butts. Is the problem one of the blade alignment relative to the handle or is the blade itself curved (bent) forward of the bolster? If the problem is misalignment it is a matter of how much you will personally tolerate. I have a few custom handmade knives with slight alignment problems but that doesn't bother me. If the blade itself is not straight it will be impossible to sharpen properly. The good news is that it can be straightened.
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Old 08-29-2008, 05:42 PM   #9
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Unless this knife goes by another name here in the Wisconsin area, I have never seen or sharpened this brand.

Buzz, do I know it as something else?
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Old 08-29-2008, 06:12 PM   #10
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Buzz:
The blade itself is curved (bent) forward of the bolster.

I just locked the blade into a little Lansky sharpener, and set up my camera/tripod to photograph the blade along the curvature... I hope this illustrates it well, although I think the image appears exaggerated due to the angle of perspective that I shot this. See attached images.

How can it be straightened?
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Old 08-29-2008, 06:14 PM   #11
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Unless this knife goes by another name here in the Wisconsin area, I have never seen or sharpened this brand.

Buzz, do I know it as something else?
Tourist, you didn't read my little blurb way up there in post #6. I like the French profile and TI Sabs in particular, BUT, I'll forever be displeased with full bolsters now that I am addicted to Japanese geometry. I guess that in the old days the bolster was needed for strength but what a pain in the rear to sharpen. I love those razor heels.
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Old 08-29-2008, 06:23 PM   #12
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Buzz:
The blade itself is curved (bent) forward of the bolster.

I just locked the blade into a little Lansky sharpener, and set up my camera/tripod to photograph the blade along the curvature... I hope this illustrates it well, although I think the image appears exaggerated due to the angle of perspective that I shot this. See attached images.

How can it be straightened?
The alignment looks okay but the blade is unacceptable. The TI Sab QC guy if there is such a man should be ashamed.

Most steel bends considerably without damage. I'm rushing this to go cook dinner but will give you a link or two or a reference to an excellent man to straighten (and really sharpen) this knife for you. In fact, The Tourist, Chico Buller, who is watching this thread just went through a bent blade problem of his own and I'm certain will chime in. Gotta go cook - back in an hour. What am I thinking? Your knife is patient and will wait forever.....
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Old 08-29-2008, 08:14 PM   #13
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you didn't read...the French profile and TI Sabs
Buzz, we still might not be communicating. I wasn't referring to the style of the knife, I meant the brand name.

I have never seen or sharpened anything with the word "Elephant" in its name, unless I know it as something else.

For example, for some people a Trail Master is a Bowie. To you perhaps, only a Bagwell is a Bowie. To an avid historian, only Rezin's knife was a Bowie.

Or am I asking the wrong question? Or is an "Elephant" a style of knife, like a 'gyuto'?
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Old 08-29-2008, 10:35 PM   #14
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Buzz, we still might not be communicating. I wasn't referring to the style of the knife, I meant the brand name.

I have never seen or sharpened anything with the word "Elephant" in its name, unless I know it as something else.

For example, for some people a Trail Master is a Bowie. To you perhaps, only a Bagwell is a Bowie. To an avid historian, only Rezin's knife was a Bowie.

Or am I asking the wrong question? Or is an "Elephant" a style of knife, like a 'gyuto'?
The basic brand name is Sabatier which came into existence prior to copy write laws, thus a plethora of "sabatier" branded knives. Thiers-Issard 4 Star Elephant Sabatier: 4 Star Elephant is the trademark of Thiers-Issard. Thiers is a city. Thiers and Issard are family names, his and hers. Together, voila, the brand name, direct descendants of the original Sabatier (brand) knife, and manufactured in the city of Thiers, France which might create a bit of misunderstanding. Did you read my "blurb" Chico? Maybe it is not explanatory. In any case, if you have further questions, I have the answers.

I love their knives. Period. Yes, they're fat compared to Japanese. But, they're otherwise well designed despite the full bolsters, Gyuto profiled if not otherwise geometried. I would only own the carbon examples. I have seven or eight, both old and new. I love the oldest bestest, three of them being between thirty and sixty years old, none of which prior to my stones has been sharpened more than a couple of times, gorgeous examples of the craft.

Chico, next time we get together I'll bring one and let you have your way with it on your EP Pro. Then you'll gather appreciation. The steel is wonderful, to our way of thinking, "fun,easy, satisfying." It will take any edge you want to give it, although holding the edge is another question, the resulting answer gives rise to the reason that long ago chefs used steels several times a day. They had to. For a home cook like myself who knows how to maintain my knives it is all a non-issue, however, if I worked in a professional kitchen I would be using steels in the 58-65 range rather than 54-58. I can afford to spend much of my time sharpening because it is a hobby. Pro chefs work, and need tools that are there right now and last through long sessions..

Sabs are on my all time fav list, but, do not compare with Takedas, Watanabes, Carters, etc. That's just the way it is.
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Old 08-30-2008, 12:19 AM   #15
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Buzz, thanks for the info. I did read the blurb. However I think my problem is the old canard about five blind men and an "elephant."

To my knowledge, I have never seen the knife, hence I have no point of reference. Or, as is my strange view on life, no logical reasonable civil explanation is going to sink in.

As for the Edge Pro, I take it you mean that thingie in the corner amid the cobwebs. It's summer, time to ride...
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Old 08-30-2008, 09:20 AM   #16
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Buzz:
I would greatly appreciate the contact information for someone who can help me get this blade straightened; when you get the chance to send that.

I think that if I'm unable to have it straightened I'll simply return the unused Chef knife-- within the window of time allowed in the return policy. It doesn't make sense for me to keep a blade that can't be properly sharpened, as much as I wanted a new carbon steel chef knife.
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Old 08-30-2008, 01:50 PM   #17
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Buzz:
I would greatly appreciate the contact information for someone who can help me get this blade straightened; when you get the chance to send that.

I think that if I'm unable to have it straightened I'll simply return the unused Chef knife-- within the window of time allowed in the return policy. It doesn't make sense for me to keep a blade that can't be properly sharpened, as much as I wanted a new carbon steel chef knife.
Sure enough. Contact Dave Martell here - JKSmailbox@japaneseknifesharpening.com

He should be able to take care of you. I suggest you either send the pics you posted or include a link to the pics so Dave can see the damage without you having to send the knife first. He's a great guy. Tell him I sent you.
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Old 08-30-2008, 02:16 PM   #18
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Buzz:
Thanks very much! I have sent Dave an email with the photos, and have explained the issue. I'll keep you posted.
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Old 09-01-2008, 01:05 AM   #19
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Buzz, I did a google search of the Sabatier brand and took a look at their line.

They look strangely like the knives of some other companies in size, shape and price. Do they "private label" for other companies, or does some other cutlers make their modern line?

The manner in which the tail end of the bolster is shaped into the heel of the blade reminds me of some of the Pampered Chef knives, and I believe some other cutler makes the PC line.

Now, that line of knives I have sharpened, and they are a good line at that price point.
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Old 09-01-2008, 08:27 AM   #20
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Buzz, I did a google search of the Sabatier brand and took a look at their line.

They look strangely like the knives of some other companies in size, shape and price. Do they "private label" for other companies, or does some other cutlers make their modern line?
Ya got me, Tourist. Thiers-Issard made some knives for an importer called Rowoko or something like that at one time but the blades were clearly marked both Rowoko and Sabatier as I recall.

Why aren't you in Milwaukee celebrating the HD 105th.?
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