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#1 of 22 Old 09-26-2007, 05:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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What do y'all recommend?
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#2 of 22 Old 09-26-2007, 06:04 PM
 
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Global knives! They are the absolute BEST! I have a Wusthof, which I used to adore, but Global came along and...well...I fell in love. Lightweight, razor-sharp (careful!!!!!) and feel great in your hand. Love, love, love them.
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#3 of 22 Old 09-26-2007, 06:10 PM
 
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One or two really, really good ones. I don't know your needs - how much butchering do you do, how much intricate knifework, peeling, fileting, etc ...

If you're like most home cooks (even the good ones, ok, let's not get ahead of ourselves), you need a sturdy 6-8in chef knife with a solid body and bolstered handle, and a good, semi-flexible, 3-5in paring or boning knife. You might also like an offset serrated knife, if you've never tried one. They're cool 'cos they cut bread and tomatoes as easily as peppers and onions. I don't know what you've been using and what you're used to, but here are some good options:

http://www.knifecenter.com/kc_new/st...html?s=VN41525
7" santoku-shaped utility knife with granton edge, by Victorinox/Forschner

http://www.knifecenter.com/kc_new/st...html?s=MM70186
6" offset serrated utility/slicer by Messermeister (also available in 8")

http://premiumknives.com/ShopSite/MA..._8_5_inch.html
8.5" all-purpose chef's knife by MAC, easily the sharpest knife you will ever own

Tell me what you use your knives for, and what you're used to using, and I could help you better.
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#4 of 22 Old 09-26-2007, 06:52 PM
 
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Wusthof! They are spendy but will last the rest of your life. Get a santuko (sp?) They rock. They are available in most brands.
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#5 of 22 Old 09-26-2007, 07:33 PM
 
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I don't like globals. they don't feel right in my hand. dp loves them though.

best advice: go to a large store like william sonoma or sur la table and try out the knives. I have henckles and wustof knives and desperately want a shun santoku. go for one that feels good in your hand
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#6 of 22 Old 09-26-2007, 07:45 PM
 
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My best recommendation is to find somewhere you can go and hold/use the knife before buying. Sur La Table offers this service, I don't know whether other stores do. It is very important to buy a knife that is the right size, shape and weight for your hand. Once you've found that knife, it's very important to take care of it. Use a steel on it at least once a week, have it professionally sharpened by someone who does hand (not machine) sharpening once every year or two, never put it in the dishwasher and don't store it on edge.

There are tons of great brands of knives out there, Mac, Global and Kyocera are at the top of my list. I've never been terribly fond of Henckels or Wusthof. But honestly if you take good care of your knives from the beginning, you can get some great service out of a relatively cheap knife. My favorite knives are a set I picked up for about $20 off of ebay - 5" santoku, 7" santoku and 9" sushi. They fit my hand perfectly, are nice and light and super sharp. I love the santoku shape. If I had to do it over again though, I'd buy a knife that has the surface tension cuts in it. Those are the (usually) oval impressions on the side of the knife blade, they prevent surface tension from dragging against the blade, and what you're cutting doesn't stick to the blade. I've used offset knives and really loved them, but not everyone does. Try one if you have the chance. An offset serrated blade is great for everything from tomatoes to bread. Just remember serrated blades can't really be sharpened.

Depending on what you're using it for, you need a small knife for precision work (like stemming strawberries), something a little bit bigger for medium work (like chopping an onion), something even bigger for larger work (like cutting up a winter squash). If you slice homemade bread, a serrated knife is the thing to get. If you slice meat (roasts), then you want a slicing blade, long and thin... I use my sushi knife for this. Those 4 blades along with a good pair of scissors (that can be taken apart for cleaning) are really all the average cook needs.

Whatever you do though, don't buy a bit set of knives, you'll never use half of them. And don't store your knives in a block, they breed bacteria.

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#7 of 22 Old 09-26-2007, 07:47 PM
 
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I just got a Global (5 1/2 inch vegetable knife is what it's called, but you can use it for anything) and *wow*, that thing can cut! I chopped a whole onion in like 15 seconds. Cheese? Tiny thin slices are a breeze. Paper thin slices of garlic with no problem. I love it! And the size is perfect for me, it's big enough but not too big. This will be my main knife for a long time.. Other than that I have a great little serrated pearing knife (sort of like this) and a bread knife from Ikea which serves its purpose well.

I do agree with the recommendation to try them out if possible.. Williams Sonoma does carry Global, so you could try those and other brands as well there pretty easily I think. Good luck!
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#8 of 22 Old 09-26-2007, 07:55 PM
 
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Originally Posted by cristeen View Post
Just remember serrated blades can't really be sharpened.
Eh, I used to think this, until I was using my offset serrate in a pro kitchen for about 3 months without doing anything to it, it got dull, I almost cut off part of my finger, and my chef berated me for not putting the knife on a steel semi-regularly. Then my fellow cooks, who all used offsets too, laughed at me and called me names for not steeling my knife. No, they can't really be put on a block and "sharpened", but they can definitely be trued up, and unless she's trying to saw through beef bones with it every day or something, that should really be adequate.

I second your musings about Japanese blades, though. Misono, MAC, and Suisin make some really, really amazing knives. I, too, hate the way the Global handle feels in my hand, though I do like the blade. Shuns are OK; cosmetically they're gorgeous, utility-wise they certainly get the job done, and, you know, they're very popular right now. I think they're way, way overpriced, though. For that money, I want antique high-carbon deba knives.
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#9 of 22 Old 09-26-2007, 08:42 PM
 
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I have a lovely expensive set of Herder knives (German made I think, or is it Swiss?). They're my 'diamonds'--when DH and I went engagement ring shopping I refused to let him upgrade the cubit zirconium on my ring to 'real' diamonds because I honestly couldn't care less. So with the $1000 we saved there we bought ourselves a fancy knife set, and I was almost more excited about those than the ring! (I'm a bit of a kitchen geek... it's okay, DH understood).

They're very good knives, especially the chef's knife and the breadknife. I bake my own bread and having a good breadknife is AMAZING. I love using it--the sign of a good knife!

But the knife I love best of all is actually a cheap Victorinox one, which cost about $10. It's a little, fine-bladed, veggie knife which cuts like a dream without being super-sharp (don't ask how!). My sister drools over it every time she comes over for dinner. We bought it because DH's ex-flatmate had one, and it was the only tool in his bachelor kitchen I liked to use! You should be able to buy them anywhere; I got mine in a junk emporium store, of all places. They have a few different kinds; I've only tried the one length, probably the shortest they have. But words cannot describe how much I love that knife...

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#10 of 22 Old 09-26-2007, 09:25 PM
 
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You MUST MUST MUST go to a place where you can test the knives. Williams-Sonoma is a great store for this.

You want a forged knife, not a stamped knife. Forged knives are stronger and better made than stamped knives, but they are also much more expensive.

Your choices are basically German or Japanese. If you think about the history of swards it gives you kinda an idea of the difference. European fighting, big heavy swards, Japanese is quick light samarui (sp?) German knives are heavy, Japanese knives are lighter and sharper.

Okay, personally I like German knives a bit better than Japanese knives. I like Wusthof Classic. I like the way they feel and the balance of the knife. I don't like a Santoku knife, I like a French Chefs knife.

German knives are basically Wusthof and Henkles. They are both made in the same little town in Germany, but Henkels is a WAY bigger company than Wusthof. Personally I think that because they are so much larger, they have sacraficed some of their quality. Both brands are pretty identical in weight and size, if you exclude the Henkels twin cuisine. That is a VERY heavy knife.

The two leading brands of Japanese knives are Global and Shun. Shun has a Ken Onion line which is AMAZING and eurgonomically correct. Very expensive though. Global has a handle that is filled with a fine sand, so the sand kinda rocks with your hand and gives you really good balance. I find the Global knife really light weight. The shun knives are amazing, by far my favorite Japanese knife. They are light, sharp, and beautiful. My next knife purchase is going to be a Shun Ken Onion Chef's knife.

I also don't recommend that you buy a full set of knives. There will probably be some knives in there that you don't use. Most people don't need a boning knife very often, or a paring santouku.

When you store your knives think about using a knife magnet. It is safe, you can store your knives high enough that little ones can't get to them. It is easier on your knives than a block, and much more sanitary. You can just wipe it down!

Okay, I seriously know way to much about knives, but feel free to ask if you want more direction.
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#11 of 22 Old 09-26-2007, 09:38 PM
 
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I love my Wusthofs! My favorites are the santuko, a (10"?) chefs knife, and the 3" paring knife. My husband can also use them comfortably, but I think he'd prefer bigger handles.

(repeats, but important points!)
Make sure you get and use a steel. Make sure you buy forged (not stamped) knives.
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#12 of 22 Old 09-27-2007, 10:19 AM
 
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Originally Posted by erin_d_a View Post
When you store your knives think about using a knife magnet. It is safe, you can store your knives high enough that little ones can't get to them. It is easier on your knives than a block, and much more sanitary. You can just wipe it down!
I really must disagree with this, if children are involved. I've seen knives fall off the mag block if the room shakes, and it's way too easy to bump into them. I would store them in a latched drawer, and use edge guards to protect the blades. They make edge guards that are nearly childproof, too.
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#13 of 22 Old 09-27-2007, 11:21 AM
 
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I recently had to replace my entire kitchen due to a house fire. So, I went to cooks-illustrated, america's test kitchen- a division of consumer reports and signed up for a free trial. I didn't have the luxury to make it anywhere to test them out so I needed good recommendations.

On the paring knife the recommended the cheapo Vitronix/Forschner
For Santuko the Mac
For utility shears the take apart Messermeister
For steak knives the Cuisanart

So, that is what I have bought I have used the paring and the steak knives so far and they are just wonderful.

please excuse the butchered spelling I'm operating on little sleep and don't have the energy to get up and check

Happily Married to my : 11 yrs- Mama to wild-eyed monkey boy 7-04, fiery little girl 4-07, and the happy smiley baby that sleeps 11-09!
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#14 of 22 Old 09-27-2007, 11:49 AM
 
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Buy local! I dont' know where you are, but there are still lots of small knife makers out there making really awesome knives. I have a nearly complete set at this poitn of knives from Warthers, and there AWESOME. Plus, whenever they start to get a little dull I just take them into the store and they sharpen them up for me!! I love'm!!
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#15 of 22 Old 09-27-2007, 01:28 PM
 
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Originally Posted by ktbug View Post
Eh, I used to think this, until I was using my offset serrate in a pro kitchen for about 3 months without doing anything to it, it got dull, I almost cut off part of my finger, and my chef berated me for not putting the knife on a steel semi-regularly. Then my fellow cooks, who all used offsets too, laughed at me and called me names for not steeling my knife. No, they can't really be put on a block and "sharpened", but they can definitely be trued up, and unless she's trying to saw through beef bones with it every day or something, that should really be adequate.
I do believe I said to steel it every week. But no, a serrated blade cannot really be sharpened... ok, it can but it's seriously expensive and very few places do it because each serration on the blade must be individually sharpened with a small sharpener.

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I really must disagree with this, if children are involved. I've seen knives fall off the mag block if the room shakes, and it's way too easy to bump into them. I would store them in a latched drawer, and use edge guards to protect the blades. They make edge guards that are nearly childproof, too.
You can get plastic latch cases that wrap around your knives if you're going to be storing them in a drawer or taking them somewhere. However, you have to get the right size/shape for your knife, which can be difficult.

I also really like magnetic strips for knife storage. Even here in earthquake country, that's what is generally used. I do not recommend installing a strip over the floor though, because A - it can be bumped and B - if it does fall you're looking at the risk of blade impaling foot. But if you install it over a countertop, about 2 feet off the counter, the risk of bumping it is tiny and kids can't reach it without climbing on the counter.

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#16 of 22 Old 09-27-2007, 02:51 PM
 
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I do believe I said to steel it every week. But no, a serrated blade cannot really be sharpened... ok, it can but it's seriously expensive and very few places do it because each serration on the blade must be individually sharpened with a small sharpener.
Yeah, we're not arguing! I sent my first offset to the wheel guy once. So much for that knife.

Quote:
You can get plastic latch cases that wrap around your knives if you're going to be storing them in a drawer or taking them somewhere. However, you have to get the right size/shape for your knife, which can be difficult.
Those are the ones I'm talking about ... and they're not that hard to come by:
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q...=Google+Search
(japanese shapes usually work best in a wooden sheath, but many japanese knifemakers provide these with the purchase of the knife. or you can just get them at WS or sur la snob.)

Quote:
I also really like magnetic strips for knife storage. Even here in earthquake country, that's what is generally used. I do not recommend installing a strip over the floor though, because A - it can be bumped and B - if it does fall you're looking at the risk of blade impaling foot. But if you install it over a countertop, about 2 feet off the counter, the risk of bumping it is tiny and kids can't reach it without climbing on the counter.
Yeah, I can see that. We've always used them in the pro setting, and I'm a fan in that setting, but they really would make me nervous around kids. Kids climb, you know? Kids are curious. My sharps are in snap cases in drawers, or in my locked kit bag.
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#17 of 22 Old 09-27-2007, 05:27 PM
 
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I thought a really good serrated knife was supposed to mysteriously last forever and never need sharpening? My breadknife is still going strong, even though I use the steel to brush up my other knives every now and then (and it really makes a difference!). You're supposed to give them a few quick strokes every time, but I'm lazy...

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#18 of 22 Old 09-27-2007, 07:26 PM
 
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I thought a really good serrated knife was supposed to mysteriously last forever and never need sharpening? My breadknife is still going strong, even though I use the steel to brush up my other knives every now and then (and it really makes a difference!). You're supposed to give them a few quick strokes every time, but I'm lazy...
Well, who told you that? I think I remember that being part of my Cutco pitch at some point.

All knives need trueing/sharpening on some kind of basis. It just depends how much you're using them and what for.
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#19 of 22 Old 09-27-2007, 07:48 PM
 
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I may get laughed out for this, but I LOVE LOVE LOVE my one and only CUTCO knife. They are a direct sales company- according to the kid I bought mine from they get college scholarship credit (or something like that) simply for doing a presentation- which if that is true, then I like that too. My hubby and I fight over who gets to use this knife when we have steak cause we both love it.

Anyway, I have had mine for years- it comes with a forever guarantee (so if I pass it down to my children it is supposedly still covered) THey also sharpen them if they ever need it- just send it back to them for sharpening. (mine has not even come close to needing sharpened though)- they are designed to stand up in the dishwasher- lots of neat design features to make them cleaner (not harbor bacteria in the handle) and not wear out.

I picked one up on ebay for my mom over a year ago- and she really loves hers too. I think my grandmother used my mom's and liked it, also.

Brenda
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#20 of 22 Old 09-27-2007, 10:04 PM
 
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Personally, I can not stand the couple of Cutco knives I have used. They're stamped and IMHO the handles totally suck. The whole idea of having them come back to sharpen them for free (just so they can try to sell me more knives!) really bugs me. I do love their ice cream scoop!

I just steel my knives pretty much every time I use them - that made a difference vs just randomly using it once in awhile. It's like sharp vs really sharp.
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#21 of 22 Old 09-28-2007, 04:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all so much for your input! As usual you Mamas know so much.
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#22 of 22 Old 09-28-2007, 06:35 PM
 
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I have Pampered Chef knives and love them. They're made of Forged German steel, feel great in your hand and have a lifetime warrantly....and they're affordable.

Lisa

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