Kitchen knives

RumRunner

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So I'm looking to replace a couple of kitchen knives. I currently have a Henkel set, I think it's the pro series with the twin stick figures on it. Anyway, my Santoku is worn down to the indents/dimples from sharpening and seems to be affecting sharpening it now. So I wanted to get a new one.

As I'm not dealing with just getting a set like I did last time, I'm not locked in on a brand, so I'm trying to figure out what the options are for replacing this knife. There are lots to choose from at all different price points. I want something quality that will be sharp right out of the box and keep an edge a long time. I don't want to break the bank either, but also don't need to cheap out.

I'm also considering replacing the chefs knife as the one I have has a couple small chips and I'm thinking of keeping this one for heavier use and getting another for finer stuff. I use the current chefs knife for everything from veggies to meat and on the grille. So it takes beating, which I don't mind, but would be nice to have one dedicated to the harder stuff.

So, looking for some input on which brands/model to get for each. 8" Chefs knife and 6-7" Santoku knife.
 

toekneepea

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If I were to do it again, I'd get a Victorinox Fibrox Chef's Knife: Victorinox Fibrox Chef's Knife - a paring knife from the same line, and then build out from there: flexible boning knife, offset bread knife (serated), and maybe a carving knife. Those and a good whet stone.


eta: we received a nice Wustoff set as a wedding present - 20-years ago, and they've held up nicely. But I wouldn't do a set again, and having all matching Knives doesn't matter to me. The Victorinox 8" I have is great, works as well as the Wustoff 8" Chef's knife, and it's inexpensive.
 

Golddiggie

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Shun Classic is what most of my kitchen knives are.
I also have a couple of the Kanso line now (boning/fillet and brisket knives). Those are made with AUS10a steel.

My first Shun (Classic 8" chef) went about 18 years before I needed to actually sharpen it. That's with using it pretty much daily. I used the steel to keep the edge in shape as often as possible (at least every couple of times I used it) and have been using a thick butcher block cutting board just as long. If you don't have a solid wood cutting board, get one. If you use plastic (or god forbid, glass) for the majority... STOP IT! I know someone who's wife cuts on stainless and then wonders why she ruins the knives (she wonders, he doesn't). They buy cheap blades because of that.

BTW, I also use the Wicked Edge Pro Pack 1 to sharpen everything now. Love that thing. ;)

I do have the Shun Classic Santuko as well as 4" paring and 6" utility. Picked up one of their Kaji line slicers (Shun Kaji 9" Hollow-Ground Slicer) ages ago (beyond great knife). I have a Henkel slicer still, but it doesn't get used.
 

rep308

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I have changed my mind from getting bespoke knives to getting hard working tools. I buy knives in the $20-$50 range from:


and sharpen the heck out of them with the Work Sharp Ken Onion Sharpener.

For example I spent $30 for my Santoku Knife, Mercer Culinary M20707 Genesis® 7" Forged Santoku Knife with Granton Edge and Full Tang Blade

and have used it hard for 2 years.

I hone my knives between sharpening with the Wedgek HXT Ceramic Thick Sharpening Rod and Angle Guides. Before I had a rod with angle guides I was always screwing up the angle. I store my knives on a magnet knife bar to protect the edge and god help the person who puts them in the dishwasher.....
 
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LuvDog

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You can go down the rabbit hole for kitchens knives even worse than guns.

I find that I don't reach for a Santoku that often. For veggies, I grab one of my Nakiri's

and I've got a few Gyuto's that have replaced my other Chef's knives.

Did you like the geometry of the German blades? or do you want to go with Japanese styles?
 

RumRunner

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I've been happy with the German blades, but of course I've never tried Japanese not sure if a German made Santoku knife would be different than the other German blades though.
 

Parker Schreiber

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The first thing to decide is if you prefer a European/American style knife or a Japanese style knife. The next thing to decide on is your budget.

Unless you are buying a bespoke knife and having it sharpened to your specifications, it's going to be sharp out of the box. Having it "keep an edge for a long time" is a matter of honing and periodic sharpening. I have my kitchen knives professionally sharpened about once a year. One of them is coming up on 40 years old now; most of the rest are 25 years old or so.

For strictly functional pieces at a budget price, Victorinox are hard to beat. $50 gets you a Santoku with Granton Edge (dimples), and about $40 gets you an 8-inch or 10-inch chefs knife. Henckles and Wustof are still both viable mainstream choices as well, but several once-respected brands, such as Chicago Cutlery, no longer make quality pieces.

For a Japanese-style edge in a functional design, I'd go with Global. Expect to pay just under $100 per knife. Shun Kanso also offers good value. My wife's favorite Kitchen knife is a Shun Ken Onion, but that's now a collector's item.

If you want something more attractive or fancier, the sky is literally the limit. Bob Kramer is probably the premier kitchen knife maker in the U.S. He currently has one chef knife for sale for $50,000. He made a knife for Anthony Bourdain as part of a TV show -- that knife sold for $231,250 at auction.
 

RumRunner

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Any recommendations on local places to get knives sharpened? I'd like to try out getting them professionally sharpened to see what a difference it is from doing it myself.
 

22lr

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Victorinox takes the cake and will not break the bank either
 

RumRunner

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The first thing to decide is if you prefer a European/American style knife or a Japanese style knife. The next thing to decide on is your budget.

Unless you are buying a bespoke knife and having it sharpened to your specifications, it's going to be sharp out of the box. Having it "keep an edge for a long time" is a matter of honing and periodic sharpening. I have my kitchen knives professionally sharpened about once a year. One of them is coming up on 40 years old now; most of the rest are 25 years old or so.

For strictly functional pieces at a budget price, Victorinox are hard to beat. $50 gets you a Santoku with Granton Edge (dimples), and about $40 gets you an 8-inch or 10-inch chefs knife. Henckles and Wustof are still both viable mainstream choices as well, but several once-respected brands, such as Chicago Cutlery, no longer make quality pieces.

For a Japanese-style edge in a functional design, I'd go with Global. Expect to pay just under $100 per knife. Shun Kanso also offers good value. My wife's favorite Kitchen knife is a Shun Ken Onion, but that's now a collector's item.

If you want something more attractive or fancier, the sky is literally the limit. Bob Kramer is probably the premier kitchen knife maker in the U.S. He currently has one chef knife for sale for $50,000. He made a knife for Anthony Bourdain as part of a TV show -- that knife sold for $231,250 at auction.

I think I'm going to stick with the European/American style as that is what the rest of my knives are. I don't care about sticking with a brand, but like the style as I've been using them for many years now. I do like the Henckels I have now, just wondering if other brands might be better for specific knives.
 

Tweed

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I went thru my knife block last year to make improvements. New favorites are a 6" slicer from Lamson and a 5" prep knife from Global. If I didn't had a 5" Santoku from Lamson, I'd look at the GS-5 or GS-91 from Global.
 

Golddiggie

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IME, going from Henkel Pro S line to the Shun Classic line was seamless. The geometry of the chef knives is either the same or so close it doesn't matter. I use the Santuko at least 90% of the time each day. I use the 4" paring and 6" utility both pretty much every day. The 8" chef gets used about once a day (most days, but not every day).

Also, the Shun kitchen knives are all at 16 degree for the edge. With the WEPP1, that's easy to set and maintain without issue. I wouldn't trust ANY sharpening setup that doesn't have a way to ensure the edge is maintained 100%. The WE setup does that. Anything where you move the blade, depends on YOU maintaining the correct angle. Hell even with the Lansky setup I used before where the blade was clamped, and the stones were on guide rods in guide holes, were not as certain. Diamond stones also means you use no oil/lube to sharpen. All pluses to me. As well as NOT having something (a belt) spinning around throwing metal dust around is huge. I wouldn't do that anywhere but a garage/shop area. Certainly not where I can use the WE setup. I know people love the 'work sharp' system, and good for them. I'm not tied to a power outlet for the WE setup. ;) Plus the stones have a long life span and have zero risk of flying off the system as it runs around wheels.

I don't have any issue taking some time to sharpen my knives with precision. I'm not looking to sharpen tens, or more, knives an hour. I also don't let them get to the point where I HAVE to sharpen them all in the same day. IMO, proper maintenance of the knives will go a long way to extending out when you need to sharpen them.

There is a company I've taken end mills to for being sharpened in Nashua, NH. New England Sharpening Company Inc. Don't know if it's "local" enough for people, but they do offer doing kitchen knives. Maybe if I had CHEAP knives I'd take them for getting sharpened. But since I don't, I don't. Also, I didn't pay MSRP for mine, except the Kaji. I see nothing wrong with spending ~$100 for a knife that will last you decades, or more. You'll get more sharpening sessions out of a Shun Classic chef than a Henkel chef due to the bolster design. Where the Shun has the edge all the way from tip to base, the Henkel doesn't. That means you won't be able to sharpen the entire line and eventually the edge will be far enough above that part where you won't be able to properly use it for slicing.

I gave away my 8" Henkel chef knife at one point. Don't miss it one bit.
 
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If I were to do it again, I'd get a Victorinox Fibrox Chef's Knife: Victorinox Fibrox Chef's Knife -

AMAZING knife. They figured out the magic sauce here. I have some expensive knives and this one holds an edge better than most. Its so cheap that I occasionally throw it in the dishwasher. I'll just replace it if ever dulls. Can't go wrong at that price point. I even bought one for my mom just so I had one at her house to carve the bird/trim the ham on holidays.
 
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I won't repeat the good advice on brands and sharpness, etc. I have had blisters from using a knife with a handle that didn't work for me. So I am very hesitant about buying anything without out holding it first for comfort (same for guns!).

I have a question. What is the advantage of Santoku knives? I have a couple but no longer use them. I didn't find them useful, but maybe they just weren't good ones.

I mostly use a chef's knife and a paring knife. And a carving knife for the turkey. I sharpen my own knives to my satisfaction. I have to be careful carving the turkey not to include bone in the slice because it is sharp enough there is not much resistance when cutting bone.
 

jhblaze1

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Here's your Santoku

 

RumRunner

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I won't repeat the good advice on brands and sharpness, etc. I have had blisters from using a knife with a handle that didn't work for me. So I am very hesitant about buying anything without out holding it first for comfort (same for guns!).

I have a question. What is the advantage of Santoku knives? I have a couple but no longer use them. I didn't find them useful, but maybe they just weren't good ones.

I mostly use a chef's knife and a paring knife. And a carving knife for the turkey. I sharpen my own knives to my satisfaction. I have to be careful carving the turkey not to include bone in the slice because it is sharp enough there is not much resistance when cutting bone.

Santoku knives are thinner than a chefs knife, and have a different angle to the edge. I like that they are also overall lighter. Seems better for cutting meats and anything you don't need to rock the knife for cutting.
 

RumRunner

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I will add that since my Santoku has been out of service I've been using the chefs knife for most things and have grown to like it just as much now.
 

Golddiggie

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Victorinox takes the cake and will not break the bank either
Unknown steel used for the blade... Hard pass on that.
@bondsman333 I wouldn't toss ANY sharp blade into a dishwasher no matter how cheap it was. IMO/IME, if you can't clean what's on the knife, off, by hand, you're doing things wrong. Just like people that put sharp knives into a sink full of soapy water to "wash it". Then wonder why they have a bad cut on their hand (or hands). My brother in law did that once... Once. I had warned him not to do it, but he ignored me. Not long after he had a nasty cut. Never mind this was a Henkel slicer (mom's), that was very sharp. Never mind that has a wood handle which means putting it into hot water deserves a double nut-punch.

For the comment about handle shape being important. Rather true. That being said, the D handle design of the Shun Classic fits very well in my hands as well as everyone I know that has/uses them. IME, Shun handles (all the lines I own) fit very well in my hands. If you want to try before you buy, you'll need to find a local store that has at least one of the models in store. Good luck with that these days. When I got my first one (2001) it was easy. Not so much these days.
 
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I know this wasn't your question, but unless you're going with some small specialty knife maker you should check out Bed Bath & Beyond to see if they have whatever you end up wanting. With a coupon they've been much, much lower than any other options I've been able to find for kitchen knives. I've built up a Global set over the years and have found all of them at BBB for good prices.
 

RumRunner

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I know this wasn't your question, but unless you're going with some small specialty knife maker you should check out Bed Bath & Beyond to see if they have whatever you end up wanting. With a coupon they've been much, much lower than any other options I've been able to find for kitchen knives. I've built up a Global set over the years and have found all of them at BBB for good prices.

that is where I got my Henckels set a few years ago. They have some great sales on sets, usually their single knives are not great deals though. But the 20% can make a difference, I use those whenever I shop there.
 
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that is where I got my Henckels set a few years ago. They have some great sales on sets, usually their single knives are not great deals though. But the 20% can make a difference, I use those whenever I shop there.

You have to sort of shop their clearances for good deals on single knives. I think I grabbed a $200+ set of their steak knives for like $50.
 
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I use mine as a screwdriver. It still works on flathead screws but for philips screws I need to use the blade to sort of chop it into a flathead and then jam the tip in there to turn it.
 

Ron Jablonski

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Any recommendations on local places to get knives sharpened? I'd like to try out getting them professionally sharpened to see what a difference it is from doing it myself.
Rumrunner, if you don't mind me asking how do you sharpen your knives? Do you use a sharpening system, or do you use free hand stones?
 
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