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Thread: Knives, For Cooking That Is

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    Default Knives, For Cooking That Is

    I've been looking around the internets for an affordable block set of knives to use for cooking as well as steak knives. I currently have some cheap set that is serated and is absolutely terrible. I'm not looking to spend a whole lot of money but want something better than what I currently have.

    The other day I was looking at one of these sets; what do you guys think? Other suggestions are welcome. My budget is probably $300 or less.

    Thanks
    Kyle

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    Unleash the kitchen knife hounds....

    The advice you will soon receive is to NOT purchase a block of knives. For $300, you can get a couple of top notch knives instead of an entire block of knives of which you might use 2 of them regularly. You really only need a chef knife, a paring knife, and if you cut bread up regularly, a bread knife. You can buy a set of steak knives separately. I offer up Victorinox Forschner knives as inexpensive and high quality, and the Japanese knife appreciators (of which I am one) will be along shortly.

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    Buying a set of knives is analagous to buying a set of pots and pans. You will find some of the pans so useful that you may need more than one of them- I don't think I could survive with only one 8" or 10" skillet. Other pans may never get washed due to lack of use- the asparagus steamer, fish poacher, and double boiler won't see as much use as a 3qt pot.


    A Chinese chef will perform every single task with a cleaver. It's a marvelously useful tool, but, more importantly, it underscores one of the fundamental principles of knife use- get a knife and learn how to use it. It's great to have good tools, but it's far more important to learn how to use (and maintain) them. Better than 90% of your tasks will be performed with a single knife- the chef's knife. This is where the bulk of your money should go. It doesn't matter if you have a drawer full of hollow ground ham slicers, boning knives, or the like if your primary knife isn't good. The first thing to do is to get a good chef's knife. You can get your wood block and steak knives from Ikea or anywhere else.

    If you have $300 to spend, you can get great knives, but you also run the risk of spending $300 on a mediocre set. A the lower end, Dexter and Forschner/Victorinox are value packed workhorses. Wusthof and Henckels are tried and true knives that will provide decades of service. But if you really want to get something nice........
    http://www.japanesechefsknife.com/
    www.korin.com

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    +1 with Ouch. I cook almost everyday and prepare a daily salad and all with mostly one knife, a santuco by Mercer that cost me less than $40. It's a Taiwan based company that uses a hard German stinless steel. It holds an edge for an amazingly long time. I can cut a tomato after weeks of use with no problem. The tool I use to maintain the edge and hone it is by Global with the 3 stone wheels. My previous knife was a chef knife by Lamson. A good knife but not as the Mercer.
    http://www.mercercutlery.com/

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    I agree 100%! You'll be FAR happier getting individual knives that meet your needs. My fav is a Nenox S1, but there are many less-expensive alternatives. All one *really* needs is a chef's knife/gyoto, a paring/utility knife, and a bread knife. The most important factor is how a knife feels in your hand. As long as you have the goods to maintain a sharp knife(knives) and a safe place to store it, you can do almost everything with 1-2 knives.

    I'll second Ouch's recommendation of japanesechefsknives.com. Their service and pricing is excellent. For a flat $7 shipping charge, your order will arrive from Japan in a couple days.
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    Just get a great chef's knife, and a decent paring knife. Live with those for a while then decide what else you need. Half the knives in a block are worthless depending on how you cook.

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    As much as I loved using a chef's knife, I've discovered that I much prefer a santoku. It's more versatile than a chef's knife, and still does the same tasks just as well.

    Spend your money on good quality steel, and on a forged blade. If I had to shop stores, I'd go for Shun. That having been said, you'll probably do fine at japanesechefsknife.com.

    Also, I agree with the others. You really only need two or three really good knives to do almost everything, and it's worth shelling out extra for them.
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    This is the reason B&B is a great place to ask these sorts of questions. Thanks
    Kyle

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    I bought a Shun 7" Santuko and 3.5" paring knife with stainless steel handles

    http://www.kershawknives.com/searchr...=23&brand=shun

    The only two knives I use anymore.

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    I have a completly different take on it. I say, go down to Sears, Macys, Marshalls, TJ Max, etc. and buy a decent but not high end clearance for $40 to $100. Use them and find out what you like, then buy good ones. When you've bought the good ones, use your that set for backup. You can throw them in the diswasher and they are always ready. They are more than good enough for steak knives. Examples: http://www1.macys.com/catalog/produc...tegoryID=41032
    http://www1.macys.com/catalog/produc...tegoryID=41032

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    Quote Originally Posted by Crazy Dave View Post
    I have a completly different take on it. I say, go down to Sears, Macys, Marshalls, TJ Max, etc. and buy a decent but not high end clearance for $40 to $100. Use them and find out what you like, then buy good ones. When you've bought the good ones, use your that set for backup. You can throw them in the diswasher and they are always ready. They are more than good enough for steak knives. Examples: http://www1.macys.com/catalog/produc...tegoryID=41032
    http://www1.macys.com/catalog/produc...tegoryID=41032
    I feel like that's a step I can skip considering I have a block set that I am already unhappy with.
    Kyle

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jasonian View Post
    As much as I loved using a chef's knife, I've discovered that I much prefer a santoku. It's more versatile than a chef's knife, and still does the same tasks just as well.

    Spend your money on good quality steel, and on a forged blade. If I had to shop stores, I'd go for Shun. That having been said, you'll probably do fine at japanesechefsknife.com.

    Also, I agree with the others. You really only need two or three really good knives to do almost everything, and it's worth shelling out extra for them.
    Your razor must have 4 blades.....


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    I'll throw in my compliments for Kershaw's Shun knives. I replaced an entire Henckles set a few years ago with a santoku and a boning knife (I like the narrow blade and sharp point for precision work). However, I did keep a couple of the Henckles for 'utility'.

    One cutting tool that will always remain in my quiver of weapons is a quality set of kitchen shears. I love these things! They are truly a multi-tasking machine. Everything from snipping up dried chilis, to openning today's heavy plastic consumer packaging, to cutting the backbone out of a chicken, these babies are great! Just make sure you get a pair that separate easily for cleaning.
    Dane -

    "Hey careful, Man; there's a beverage here!!" - Dude Lebowski

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    Quote Originally Posted by tam.audio View Post
    I feel like that's a step I can skip considering I have a block set that I am already unhappy with.
    Yes but you got a serrated set. You can't tell anything from that.

    I am no stranger to good knives. I has a non stainless Sabatier 10", chef 6" chef and cleaver, Sabatier stainless 6" chef. I cant remember the brand of my boning knife, but it is very good and expensive. (I spent a lot of time looking. Most of them, even the expensive ones, suck!) I have been cooking for almost 4 decades and have friends who are professional chefs. I cook French, Chinese, Korean and American. I love great knives, but if you know how to sharpen and wield a knife, you can get comparable as results with a relatively inexpensive Chinese stainless, as long as the stainless steel is good quality. Fit and finish will not be as nice, but you will save a lot of bucks. Of course you can't get any stainless to be a sharp as a great quality high carbon steel non-stainless knife like the Sabatier, but I did not think you were looking for that type of knife. They are great, but they are high maintenance.

    http://www.sabatier.us/kitchen-knive...-vintage_.html

    Dave

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scotto View Post
    Your razor must have 4 blades.....


    Sorry, couldn't resist.
    It has more than that. They're just not all installed at the same time.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jasonian View Post
    As much as I loved using a chef's knife, I've discovered that I much prefer a santoku.
    I plugged "santoku" into bablefish. It returned "girl's knife".
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    French Chef's knife and paring knife top two users for certain, but I wouldn't discount the carving knife. It gets pulled out regularly to deal with a roaster, and not to mention the turkeys and hams that bow to its serrated blade.

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    Thumbs up

    Excellent thread & advice. You needa Santoku or Chef's knife, paring, and shears with perhaps a boning knife if you break down large cuts of meat. I am constantly surprised at the quality of today's knives; what is taken for granted today was at one time wishful thinking.

    Things of quality, utility, beauty are joys forever.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ouch View Post
    I plugged "santoku" into bablefish. It returned "girl's knife".
    Is that a litteral translation?!? DAMN, I've been using a girl's knife?

    Actually, I don't think I'd buy the santoku shape again. Coming from a chef's style a couple of years ago, I think I prefer that shape. The sharper point seems to provide a little more precision for me.
    Dane -

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    Quote Originally Posted by danek View Post

    One cutting tool that will always remain in my quiver of weapons is a quality set of kitchen shears. I love these things! They are truly a multi-tasking machine. Everything from snipping up dried chilis, to openning today's heavy plastic consumer packaging, to cutting the backbone out of a chicken, these babies are great! Just make sure you get a pair that separate easily for cleaning.
    This x1000

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