Originally Posted by oneoffour
I read the four pages of posts and didn't read of a significant factor of the steel in the knife blade.
Your post was correct but there is much more. Although the manufacturers closely guard the information, almost all knives manufactured in Switzerland, Germany, France, the UK etc are from 440A stainless steel. The reason is that although 440A can be brought to a reasonable edge, the most important factor is that it is extremely high in chromium making it nearly immune to rust. Oh yeah, in comparison to a lot of other, better steels, it's cheap. Imagine that. They want this attribute because most people abuse their knives to no end. Another thing is that most of the edges are ground to 25 degrees per side. So are axes. I believe the Chef's Choice electric sharpeners and their ilk roughly match that dimension.
Okay, what's the problem? First of all, in the real world of knife blades, 440A is at the low end of the totum pole. 440A blades (and blades made of several other steels) are nicknamed "beaters". Personally, I think your 440's should be replaced by either Japanese cook's knives or French Sabatier Theirs-Issard 4-Star Elephant CARBON STEEL knives.
Now, I know you aren't going to jump on the Internet and follow my advice, soooooo, here's how you can improve your cooking experiences immensely. Take your Forschners, Wushoffs, Henkels, whatever, to a professional sharpener and tell him you want your edges ground to 15 degrees per side, polished, and stropped. If he's any good at all he'll "know" AND be able to produce the desired result. This enhances blade performance dramatically. You will then have a chef's knife that will practically cut through a tomato under its own weight. You will LOVE it. It makes food prep easier and is safer due to the blade not slipping. Just don't touch it to "see" how sharp it is. You'll be seeing red.
BUT, you have to do your part. As I said before, knives are sold to people who abuse them, the lowest common denominator if you will. You can't throw your new edges into the dishwasher, toss them into a drawer with a bunch of other steel, et al. Here's what you do:
1) Put your electric sharpener in the garbage. well, all right, you can keep it if you promise not to use it on your 15 degree edges as you will ruin them.
2) If you must have electric, get on line and buy a Shun - 16 degrees per side.
3) Toss all those grooved steels into the recycling bin. They rip up edges like nobody's business and will ruin your edge just like the electrics..
4) Buy a SMOOTH steel. These realign the edge but do not remove any steel. This is vital and they should be used BEFORE you use your knife. Alternatively, use the edge of your baking dish for the same purpose. Not kidding. It works. Glass is harder than steel and that is all you need.
5) Keep them in a block or on a magnetic rack.
6) In your home kitchen, your edge should last close to a year if you do it right. Once the edge realligning is not bringing the cutting power back to where you know it should be, send them back to the pro for resharpening, or, if you're a do it yourselfer, use the Shun I told you about. Please don't talk to me about stones as not one in a hundred use them properly. If you must grind your knives yourself, buy an EdgePro for perfect angles, but that's another story.
I do know what I'm talking about, so if you have questions, fire away.