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Old 02-04-2009, 01:56 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by buzzard767 View Post
I know that I am much more fussy with my knives than most of you. With that said I will tell you that what feels sharp out of the box really isn't. .

True, yes. But when a home cook opens up a brand new knife thier first thought shoiuldn't be "wow, I think this knife needs to be sharpened."
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Old 02-04-2009, 03:15 PM   #22
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hmm..there seems to be some kind of skewd idea, that somehow chefs have sharper knives than "home cooks"
The ammount of chefs that actually have the kind of sharp knives buzz uses are probably aroun 3% . The majority of their jobs simply either don't require delicate knife skills, or don't have the time to do it themselves and have their knives sent out to be sharpened when they dull.
I keep reading, " a home cook doesn't need a knife that sharp", etc.
That makes me wonder how mant have actually used what could be called a sharp knife.
How many would cook with a pan that has a dished out bottom that hasn't been cleaned? Probably none-atleast I hope not. Thats how some of us feel about our knife edges.
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Old 02-04-2009, 05:03 PM   #23
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SShepherd,

Chefs are just like any other tradesman. Some buy the best tools and really care for them and others are happy to get by any old how.
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Old 02-04-2009, 05:21 PM   #24
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True, yes. But when a home cook opens up a brand new knife thier first thought shoiuldn't be "wow, I think this knife needs to be sharpened."
That's probably why I buy used knives. I just stopped by a thrift store and found a j.a. henckels 8" chef's knife. It's forged (gasp), but it's the cheap one, from Brasil. Get 'em most places for under $50,(c. $25 on eBay) plus shipping. I paid a buck, plus .07 tax. The knife was dirty, dull, and had a slightly bent tip. I straightened the tip first, figuring it would be a waste of time to do the rest first, then break the tip off. I didn't. so I washed it, and scrubbed it a bit with a scotchbrite sponge...cleaned up nice. Now I have a cheap, $1.07, dull chef's knife...is it worth sharpening? You bet. Took about 30 minutes to get a nice edge on it, and it's gonna help make breakfast tomorrow morning in the shelter. I'll probably use it for a while, then leave it in the church kitchen. The handle is dishwasher safe, and I'll sharpen it for 'em once in a while. I got a nice Griswold #8 CI pan, there, too, but I'm not gonna sharpen it. It's in the oven, cooling, now.
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Old 02-04-2009, 06:56 PM   #25
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3-in-1 oil will gum up a whetstone. Go for the big bucks and buy two($80) or three($140) 8" benchstones; like Spyderco's ceramic medium and fine and? ultra fine benchstones. They can be used dry and cleaned with an eraser or q-tips and Cameo scouring powder.
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Old 02-04-2009, 07:34 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SShepherd View Post
hmm..there seems to be some kind of skewd idea, that somehow chefs have sharper knives than "home cooks"
The ammount of chefs that actually have the kind of sharp knives buzz uses are probably aroun 3% . The majority of their jobs simply either don't require delicate knife skills, or don't have the time to do it themselves and have their knives sent out to be sharpened when they dull.
I keep reading, " a home cook doesn't need a knife that sharp", etc.
That makes me wonder how mant have actually used what could be called a sharp knife.
How many would cook with a pan that has a dished out bottom that hasn't been cleaned? Probably none-atleast I hope not. Thats how some of us feel about our knife edges.

I mostly agree with you. As a chef I can tell you I only know one pro cook (aside from me) that's a knifenerd. A lot of guys have their own roll but oftimes their knives are little better than the house knives. Few of them are expert at sharpening. That said, I live & work in a smaller market than those guys in LA or NY. But I think the percentages probably track. Chefs and cooks are tradesmen, and it's definately true that their attitudes towards their tools vary. Some love knives while they're just a tool to others.

However, I do think a good edge is a bit more important to a pro, if for no other reason than just volume. If I'm cutting a few steaks or carving a turkey at home I could probably survive using a dull knive. But cleaning 300 lbs of beef tenderloin or stuffing 6 cases of porkloin is a nightmare without a good knife. You ever have to cut a crusty loaf of batard with a dull knife? Now imagine cutting 300 loaves of crusty batard with a dull knifef!
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Old 02-04-2009, 07:57 PM   #27
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I sorely miss my Chicago Cutlerly boning knife. It was given to me by a dear friend some 30 years ago, but finally broke at the first rivet in the three rivet full tang handle when I admitedly abused it. So yes, I think that you should take the time to sharpen yours. Heck, it will probably outlast your favorite nonstick pan!
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Old 02-04-2009, 09:00 PM   #28
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I mostly agree with you. As a chef I can tell you I only know one pro cook (aside from me) that's a knifenerd. A lot of guys have their own roll but oftimes their knives are little better than the house knives. Few of them are expert at sharpening. That said, I live & work in a smaller market than those guys in LA or NY. But I think the percentages probably track. Chefs and cooks are tradesmen, and it's definately true that their attitudes towards their tools vary. Some love knives while they're just a tool to others.

However, I do think a good edge is a bit more important to a pro, if for no other reason than just volume. If I'm cutting a few steaks or carving a turkey at home I could probably survive using a dull knive. But cleaning 300 lbs of beef tenderloin or stuffing 6 cases of porkloin is a nightmare without a good knife. You ever have to cut a crusty loaf of batard with a dull knife? Now imagine cutting 300 loaves of crusty batard with a dull knifef!
It's largely the same in the meat packing business, where most employees work with a knife in their hand most of the day. I spent a great deal of time hearing about the entire process in a series of cases I had with Clougherty Packing (Farmer John, the largest pork processor west of Chicago, or it was at the time). One of the key issues was time spent sharpening knives and whether it was on or off the clock. Consequently, I learned a lot about how they sharpened their tools.

Similar to what you said about the cooking industry, the meat packers treated their knives much like a carpenter treats his hammer -- it's a tool, not an object of worship. They tend to buy fairly inexpensive commercial knives with high carbon content (no Shuns here), and they replace the knives frequently, maybe every few months to once every year or two. Most carry several knives of varying sizes.

Sharpening is done on a crude power grinding stone and finished on a wet stone. Knives are typically sharpened every day, more often in some cases (e.g., a guy cutting around bone all day). Steeling is almost constant throughout the day -- most workers whip out the steel between every hog, which pass down a "disassembly line" where each worker has a specific job, such as removing a particular part of each pig's anatomy.

And their knives are indeed "scary sharp," slicing through a fresh hog carcass like a hot knife through butter.

BTW, they're proud to say they waste nothing but the oink -- and it's true. Even the blood and the intestinal juices and the hair is saved to be used for something.
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Old 02-04-2009, 09:04 PM   #29
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Guys working on the kill floor or production lines require a certain kind of edge. The "scary sharp" edge you describe is usually a wire edge created by frequent steeling. The wire edge cuts like crazy but it's not very durable, hence the frequent re-steeling. But it seems like your average meat packer has a better idea how to sharpen than your average cook, if for no other reason than that a knife may be the packers only tool (or one of just a few) whereas a cook or chef de partie works with a wide array of them.
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Old 02-04-2009, 11:19 PM   #30
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For an excellent, inexpensive knife sharpening system, you can't beat the Lansky Deluxe Turn Box, at less than $20. Anyone can use it and it will maintain a good sharp edge without without scratching the blade or damaging the edge.
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