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Kitchen Knive Set

adytumadytum Registered User regular
edited April 2012 in Help / Advice Forum
I cook a lot, and I've been muddling through with a set of hand-me-down knives. It's time to upgrade, but I'm not a knife aficionado.

What should I be looking for with knives? Are there any brands that are a "safe bet" for high-quality, long-lasting knives?

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Posts

  • chrishallett83chrishallett83 Hi! Registered User regular
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  • ArtereisArtereis Registered User regular
    I own a set of Shun Ken Onion knives. I love them like my not-yet-existent children.

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  • wonderpugwonderpug Registered User regular
    Forget the set and buy one really nice 8" chef's knife and one really nice paring knife. Those two will get you through 95% of your kitchen chopping duties. As you cook more and more, add other knives to your collection as you find use for them.

    But I mean, I'm a pretty avid home cooking hobbyist and I've built up a good collection of Shun knives, but most of the time I cook the chef's knife is the only knife I use. That goes for elaborate meals, too, like when I'm entertaining guests.

    As far as brands, there are plenty of 'safe bet' brands but it's really kind of a personal choice. I absolutely love the feel of Shun knives. They have a D-shaped wooden handle, the balance feels great, and I like the shape. (The faux damascus steel rippling is also just kind of nifty to see). Other people hate the feel of the D-shaped handle, though.

    If there's a Williams & Sonoma or something near you, you should go and feel a bunch of chef knives to see which one feels best to you.

    While you're there, you may also want to see if a store person would be willing to show you the proper way to hold and use a knife. How to hone it, too. If you're upgrading to something nice, might as well make sure you're using it right (slicing motion instead of crude chopping, etc.) and make sure you know how to maintain it.

  • schussschuss Registered User regular
    Agreed on Wonderpug's advice.
    http://korin.com/
    Has a lot of great japanese knives. Make sure that regardless of what you get, that you go normal chefs, not that santoku BS. Just get a badass chefs and a decent paring to start.

  • matt has a problemmatt has a problem Six pack on a dick Registered User regular
    I'd suggest a Fibrox set. They're what you'll see in any commercial kitchen. They are bulletproof. They're also not obscenely expensive.

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  • adytumadytum Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    wonderpug wrote: »
    Forget the set and buy one really nice 8" chef's knife and one really nice paring knife. Those two will get you through 95% of your kitchen chopping duties. As you cook more and more, add other knives to your collection as you find use for them.


    That is probably a better idea than buying a full set. I typically use the chef's, paring, and bread knives the most, followed by a 'meh' steak knife to carve up cooked meat with bones so as not to damage the better knives. I don't typically use the carving or boning knives at all.

    For buying individual knives instead of sets, what are the options for storage?

    adytum on
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  • EncEnc FloridaRegistered User regular
    Listen to Wonderpug.

    You really only need one solid, high quality chef's knife and then maybe a cheap set of misc. knives from your local big box store to supplement. In almost all cooking you will really only need the chef's knife regularly unless you are doing particularly fancy things quite often.

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  • chrishallett83chrishallett83 Hi! Registered User regular
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  • Colt45Colt45 Registered User regular
    That looks great, but it costs 1500 dollars. If OP has that kind of disposable income I say go for it, but if not go with what everyone else says and you'll probably be just as happy and in most situations just as prepared. Although I have always wanted one of those sweet files like that.

    In my experience you only use like two or three knives from a set anyways most of the time, and I have some Old Hickory knives that were my grandmother's that still cut just as good as any other knife. As long as your knives are made out of quality steel and you keep them sharp it doesn't matter. If aesthetics of the knife itself matter to you, drop 2K on knives, if you just want them to cut, go with something cheaper and it'll do the job.

  • ThundyrkatzThundyrkatz Registered User regular
    I own a set of Zwilling Henckels knives and have enjoyed them very much. Like Wonderpug said, all you need is a nice chefs knife and maybe a pairing knife for smaller jobs.

    Also, i have a Santoku knife, and it is great! I like the way the blade sits when i and chopping veggies and herbs. I us that knife more then any other.

  • EncEnc FloridaRegistered User regular
    Colt45 wrote: »
    That looks great, but it costs 1500 dollars. If OP has that kind of disposable income I say go for it, but if not go with what everyone else says and you'll probably be just as happy and in most situations just as prepared. Although I have always wanted one of those sweet files like that.

    In my experience you only use like two or three knives from a set anyways most of the time, and I have some Old Hickory knives that were my grandmother's that still cut just as good as any other knife. As long as your knives are made out of quality steel and you keep them sharp it doesn't matter. If aesthetics of the knife itself matter to you, drop 2K on knives, if you just want them to cut, go with something cheaper and it'll do the job.

    Pretty sure he was joking about getting it for that price.

    Or, at least, I hope he was.

    Guns make you stupid. Better to fight your wars with duct tape. Duct tape makes you smart.
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  • amateurhouramateurhour Registered User regular
    You can get a good set of chef's knives from target for under $400, the real thing to consider is upkeep, cleaning, and storage.

    We registered for a nice set of knives (assorted) and got a complete set when my wife and I got married. (I'd link them but I can't for the life of me find them online right now) We've had them almost four years now and they're still razor sharp and in mint condition. She's had a global chef's knife for the better part of a decade that still looks and cuts like it's out of the box.

    The first thing we did is get two magnetic blocks to store them on the wall. It 1) looks really cool in the kitchen and 2) makes them easy to get to, and you're not shoving them in a little block full of slots which (for someone OCD like me) feels like you're storing them in a germ container. I know that's not the case, but I really love the magnetic strips.

    Second, make sure you never run them through the dishwasher. Hand wash them right after you use them and they'll last forever.

    Third, don't use those automatic sharpeners. They'll wear the knives down faster. Sharpen them manually.

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  • mtsmts Registered User regular
    just pick up a good steel and know how to use it.

    you shouldn't need to resharpen a knife much, just running it on the steel should be enough

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  • matt has a problemmatt has a problem Six pack on a dick Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    adytum wrote: »
    wonderpug wrote: »
    Forget the set and buy one really nice 8" chef's knife and one really nice paring knife. Those two will get you through 95% of your kitchen chopping duties. As you cook more and more, add other knives to your collection as you find use for them.


    That is probably a better idea than buying a full set. I typically use the chef's, paring, and bread knives the most, followed by a 'meh' steak knife to carve up cooked meat with bones so as not to damage the better knives. I don't typically use the carving or boning knives at all.

    For buying individual knives instead of sets, what are the options for storage?

    A magnetic mount is good. Avoid a knife block like the plague though. They look pretty but the slots get filled with all kinds of crud that you can't clean out, they're super unsanitary.

    matt has a problem on
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    All my fuckin life I lived a normal fuckin life
  • DjeetDjeet Registered User regular
    I like the magnetic strips also, because they're a bit more flexible than knife blocks as knife blocks have holes of particular heights to store knife sets. So 1 or 2 of the 10-12 holes might be tall enough to house a chef or santoku knife. Just remember to twist the edge side off first and then lift the spine off, and reverse the order when storing.

    And everyone here's that a large chef's knife (I prefer 10", more the weight than the additional edge) and a paring knife are all you really need, after that I'd look into poultry shears, a cleaver, a bread knife, or another large chef's knife depending on how and what you cook.

    Steels are for honing. You will need to hand sharpen on a stone to keep it sharp if you use these knives with any regularity. You can get a 2 sided stone (one side shaping, one side finishing) at a restaurant supply store for $10-15. Takes maybe 5 minutes per knife unless you let it get really chipped.

  • EshEsh Sunshine! Kittens! Rainbows! Smiles! Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    I can second the fact that Wüsthof makes excellent knives. I have the 7" santoku that I use for cutting fruit and garnishes when I bartend and I LOVE it.

    "At first he thought it might be a natural occurrence - maybe a rabbit. But upon closer inspection, it was clear a knife had been used. And rabbits don't carry knives."
  • amateurhouramateurhour Registered User regular
    You know, the only knife I never use is the cleaver, and we have two of them (double gifted)

    Like of the entire 22 knife set, that's the one we have never used.

    Here's what I do...
    The Vac - My Science Fiction Epic
    Fortune Pancakes - My Gag-A-Day Comic
  • DjeetDjeet Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    It's of limited usefulness unless you do some of your own butchery, though I also use it to smash things like garlic. My Asian cleaver I actually use as a chef's knife, since it's thin and sharp unlike my western cleaver.

    Djeet on
  • ComahawkComahawk Registered User regular
    I used these when I was a cook: http://www.canadacutlery.com/product_line.html

    They hold an edge far better than Wustof or Victorianox. The only knives I found that were actually better were Shun, but they are ungodly expensive.

    If you want CCI knives, they are also dirt cheap - My 10" Chef's Knife was about $35 Canadian. Usually, you can find them in restaurant supply stores. In my opinion, there is no need to spend a lot of money on really high end Wustof, Victorianox, Global or Shun knives. With the exception of Shun, they do not perform better and even the difference from a CCI Chef's Knife to a Shun is marginal - I only noticed it because I was using it day in and out.

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  • MaguanoMaguano Registered User regular
    Got this from cook's illustrated, they did a fairly exhaustive review,

    this is thire recommendations for an inexpensive DIY set
    Spoiler:

    and this is their DIY moderate list
    Spoiler:

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  • KalTorakKalTorak Registered User regular
    I like Cooks Illustrated's suggestions, with a few additions. The Victorinox knives are great for knives that you don't use a ton (bread knives, boning knife) or are easily replaced (paring knives). My chef's knife is a little pricier (in the $100 range), and I like the weight in the metal that you don't get with the Victorinoxes.

    Get a decent steel as well.

  • ComahawkComahawk Registered User regular
    KalTorak wrote: »
    I like Cooks Illustrated's suggestions, with a few additions. The Victorinox knives are great for knives that you don't use a ton (bread knives, boning knife) or are easily replaced (paring knives). My chef's knife is a little pricier (in the $100 range), and I like the weight in the metal that you don't get with the Victorinoxes.

    Get a decent steel as well.

    Get a diamond steel if you are serious about keeping your knives sharp.

    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • Blake TBlake T Registered User regular
    Personally I probably use my 8" the most, followed by the 6" and then my 10" and cleaver are about even.

    Find a brand that you like. Everyone here has mentioned fine brands (I use mundial) but keep in mind, if you find a really good deal on the blades. Check to see how they are made.

    If they are cheap they are almost certainly stamped. Do not buy stamper blades. Except for maybe a bread knife.

  • HypatiaHypatia Registered User regular
    There are a lot of good brands here that people have mentioned, but before you go buying any of them go to a store that sells kitchen equipment that has a sampling of knives and ask them if you can hold them. Try chopping or cutting motions with the knives on a cutting board and see if you like the feel of that model/brand.

    It's great to buy quality, but because even quality knife brands will have different styles, it's best to try to get an idea of what feels comfortable to use. It's going to be an investment and it's pointless to get something and then find out that it hurts your hand after you've been holding it a while or it's just plain uncomfortable.

  • chrishallett83chrishallett83 Hi! Registered User regular
    Enc wrote: »
    Colt45 wrote: »
    That looks great, but it costs 1500 dollars. If OP has that kind of disposable income I say go for it, but if not go with what everyone else says and you'll probably be just as happy and in most situations just as prepared. Although I have always wanted one of those sweet files like that.

    In my experience you only use like two or three knives from a set anyways most of the time, and I have some Old Hickory knives that were my grandmother's that still cut just as good as any other knife. As long as your knives are made out of quality steel and you keep them sharp it doesn't matter. If aesthetics of the knife itself matter to you, drop 2K on knives, if you just want them to cut, go with something cheaper and it'll do the job.

    Pretty sure he was joking about getting it for that price.

    Or, at least, I hope he was.

    Yes.

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  • QuantumTurkQuantumTurk Registered User regular
    I really liked the Victorinox, though I agree it is a bit light. However, at the price point, i say it is well worth the gamble compared to dropping 100+ on a knife for a marginal increase in comfort. Unless you are cooking huge amounts, likely in professional capacity, but I figure if that was the case you wouldn't be asking on a nerd forum.

    Also, if you can find them, Kiwi makes stamped knives that are razor sharp (literally), and will last a surprisingly long time. They are also under 10$ each. Best find ever at my local asian market. Definitely something to ask about, as they are hella cheap and wickedly sharp.

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