Dec 4, 20174424 views

[Ongoing] Kitchen Knives Questions & Answers

On Massdrop, you can find enthusiasts of all levels within any given community. There are beginners who are just starting out and experts who really know their stuff. Wherever you find yourself on the spectrum, you should always be able to find answers to your questions within the community.
KITCHEN KNIVES This week, we want to shine a light on kitchen knives and the culinary mastery that comes with them. Whether you’re chopping vegetables, carving a turkey, or deboning a fish you’ve just caught fresh, there’s always room to hone your kitchen knife knowledge. And when the pursuit for finding the right blade for the right job can seem endless, you can use some expertise.
ASK QUESTIONS Want to know the best way to sharpen a santoku knife and the best sharpening stone to do it? Or maybe you need to bone up on your chopping and carving techniques? The best way to find the answers to your questions is to ask the community. There are members who are experts in pretty much every area of cooking you can imagine, and they can help you go from beginner to pro.
Ask your questions by posting in the discussion below.
GIVE ANSWERS Many of you in the community know a lot about kitchen knives and have great information to share. We encourage you to help out those that have questions!

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evan.kahn, Fernando Melendez, and 4 others

Kitchen knives are essential kitchen appliance for cutting vegetables, fruits and slicing them. Usually, I prefer Victorinox 3-Piece set. This set of 3 best professional chef knives which include, a chef knife (8 inches), a slicer (8 inches) and a utility knife (4-3/4 inch). The best part of each of the three knives is that they are made of rosewood handles which are very comfortable to make the precision grip while cutting at a faster pace. But, today everyone buying new knives replacing their old one without getting any reviews on it. To buy excellent quality knives, but some people still think about the price and prefer the cheap ones but they don’t understand that they are not actually wasting their money instead of saving. So, it recommended to buy a good quality kitchen knives, but before reading the reviews of them. If you want you can check the link for good quality kitchen knives reviews:
I am wondering what everyone's thoughts are on Damascus kitchen knives, besides looking incredible, are they good to use in the kitchen? What style knife would you recommend? I am personally not the biggest fan of Japanese kitchen knives, the ergonomics just don't work for me.
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There was a time when Damascus was a sign of more labor, and as such was a way to immediately recognize that the maker had to at least have a certain skill set which would guarantee a certain quality.
Nowdays, damascus is pre-made in large plates that companies can just stamp out, and then add any 3d elements with pin welding. Damasus patterning IS beautiful, but it is NOT a sign of quality, and is no longer a guarantee of any level of quality. You can even buy preground Damascus knife blanks that you add you own handle to. There are dozens of Kickstarter knives that are cheap communist Chinese knives with 67 layers are available for 60-130 dollars.
There is NO comparison between a Damascus knife made in communist China and a Japanese knife, not because of geography or ethnicity, but because of the emphasis of production numbers as opposed to individual pride of craftsmanship.
In theory, multi layer cladding CAN add resilience to a harder knife. but after 3 layers, it's just cosmetics. I'd FAR prefer a handmade Japanese knife of 3 layers like a Miyabi Artisan or a Tojiro SG2 over a dalstrong 69 layer knife at the same price point (and of course the Tojiro DP, the Yaxell Mon, etc are even less expensive) and that's not even counting handmade blades. I'd rather have an "ugly" kurouchi knife or a "plain" monosteel or 3 layer knife by a better maker or with a better steel, than have "pretty" Damascus knives. Although I DO own many Damascus, they are by better makers and just happen to be Damascus, like my Yaxell Gou's my Tojiro Senkuo's, My masakagnes, etc. The Damascus was NOT the reason for the decision.
Again, after 3 layers, it's just cosmetics, there is no functional advantage. But cosmetics ARE important to some people
There are severaal schools of thought.
1 it is POSSIBLE that a pattern welded finish MIGHT help slightly in food release. If so it is minimal and it also depends what the materials of the Damascus are.
Another issue is that after 3 layers, it is only cosmetic. 3 layers may give a fnctional advantage of a soft outer, or a non-stain outer surrounding a harder or carbon core steel (or a harder carbon core).
A third issue is that a decade ago, a patter welded blade meant that more time, and effort went into making it. Therefore it was often paired with better craftsmanship in other areas. And because it was more labor intensive and because it might have been made by a more skilled craftsman, it was a sign of a better made knife. THAT IS NO LONGER THE CASE. There ARE many high end makers of knives with pattern welding, but they are few and far between. Pattern welded steel is readily available in industrial length rolls, plates and billets. It is usually PREMADE by separate companies at only a small premium of cost to monosteel or 3 layer sheet, roll and billet. There ARE some companies like Yaxell, Miyabi, Tojiro that make their own, but very few. Nowdays there are cheap good, cheap mediocre and just plain crummy "Damascus" knives coming out of communist China, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
If you want a Shun, Tojiro, Miyabi, Yaxell, Mcuesta, etc with layers they're GREAT. Tojiro, Miyabi and Yaxell also make some GREAT knives with 3 layers that are functionally GREAT, but at very reasonable cost. I'd HIGHLY recommend those. But in general stay away from the ex cheapo "67 layer" knives we've all been seeing on facebook and kickstarter
I have a Shun Hikari 8" Chefs knife that has a small bend in the heel of the blade - I only use it to chop vegetables and boneless meat. After washing I dry it and store it in a wood block. Does anyone have experience with Shuns being flimsy? Is this characteristic of their blades or do I have a dud? I thought VG10 was supposed to be much more durable than this, even if it has a thin profile
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There is a CLAIM that shuns are "chippy", but 99.99% are because of user error. If you have a BEND, it is obviously user error. A warranty covers defects in material or craftsmanship, of which that is neither. That being said, Shun does have very good "after care". They are very easy to get a minor chip repair for free out of, even when it's the customers fault. The difference between "warranty" and "customer satisfaction policy". I'd send it in. They'll tell you it was your fault. OBVIOUSY it was. But they'll probably give you a free replacement AS A COURTESY, not because they are obligated to.
Better quality knives are not as forgiving as lesser quality knives. it reuires more discipline of it's user. Cut PERPENDICULAR to the board. Do NOT twist at the end of your stroke (probably your issue). Don't hammer like they do on TV. They get free replacements when they're "on accommodation" or they're an "ambassador". And do NOT Scrape product off the board with the edge
I've got several Shun knives and haven't found them to be flimsy at all, depending on where you live you should take pictures of the knife in question and contact Shun for warranty service (sharpening and/or replacement). If you live somewhere where knife shipment could be an issue, contact Shun and ask them what they can do to help.
Best cheese knife for medium to hard cheeses? I've used the inexpensive serrated knives with cutouts with good results but they always seem to rust.
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Stainless steel is not non-reactive in the sense of being chemically inert. Corrosion resistant is a better term. All stainless alloys can corrode under the right conditions. The oxide layer, yup it has one, makes it less prone to further oxidation. Dishwasher detergent and other corrosive chemicals can break down the oxide layer and cause localized corrosion. Another factor in S/S corrosion is things that cause localized transformation from austenite to ferrite, e. g. spot welding, although knives are not usually made from austenitic stainless. They're made from a martensitic type like 420 or 440 or any of hundreds of more exotic alloys. The martensitic alloys are less corrosion resistant than the austenitic ones but can be hardened by heat treatment which makes them stronger and able to hold an edge. BTW, martensitic stainless is magnetic. I have always used stainless cheese knives. My corrosion problem probably comes from the dishwasher. There are no plated stainless knives. I don't know if anyone's ever tried to use it for plating.
I certainly agree that stainless steel is not chemically inert. It really isn't stainless, It's really only "less-stain". I was speaking in the generic way. Stainlees steel IS less reactive than most carbon steels.
As far as stainless plating. There ARE numerous cheese and other type knives coming out of France and China. They are flimsy junk.
I am well familiar with the difference beween austentite, ferrite, matinsite and I know how to work between the different types. I am not a knife maker, but I've taken classes and I've done jewelry work, no I know a little about chemical compostions and about tempering quenching, hardening, etc. but none of that is pertainent. Austenite and Martinsite has little to do with rust resistance, it is more closely related to hardness and ductility. I know full well that martinsite is magnetic. The guys from Apogee tried to claim it was NOT magnetic. I (me, not them) was the one who said it IS magnetic under most conditions. But magnetism has nothing to do with rust, nor of stainresistance. Why would you bring that up????
As far as your issue with rusting. There is a BIG difference between RUST and STAIN. I was going by YOUR description.
Hi everybody!
We have the winners of the Q&A giveaway! Congratulations to the following people: · @friedumpling · @btimup · @ajdasilva22
The giveaway is over, but the discussion isn't. If you ever have some questions, tips, or answers, you should always feel free to come back.
Any recommended sharpening stones? I mainly use a nakiri and a santoku. Both are stainless steel.
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thanks for the heads up.
I find a King 1000/6000 is sufficient for almost all sharpening. I've had one for 5 years that looks set to last another 20, and I use it on all my kitchen knives, chisels and planes, straight razors, pocket knives, etc. If I need to do more than just sharpen an edge with a decent bevel, I'll use 3M 60/30/15 micron adhesive backed abrasive film on a glass plate. I also use these to flatten my stones. This whole setup will cost you well under $100. I had a shun 8" chef's knife given to me because it was basically ruined. I had to take at least 3/32" off the blade, and gave it an asymmetric convex profile to about 1/2" back from the blade and terminating in a bevel of ~23°/12°, so I had a truly huge amount of material to remove, and VG-10 is about as hard to sharpen as kitchen knife steel will get. It took about two hours total to do and at the end I had a polished edge that could pass the hanging hair test across the entire length of the blade.
Looking to buy a Chef's knife for my fiance as a wedding present and was curious if anyone had any recommendations. She is the main cook in the house and is looking for 7" -9".
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I meant <$250 haha
Here's a couple of full stainless options from a shop that does good initial sharpening if you request it when purchasing Japanese Knife Imports -Gesshin stainless wa-gyuto -Gesshin Ginga stainless gyuto
I've gifted a Gesshin Uraku stainless gyuto, but prefer something with thinner edge geometry for my own use. I've also gifted Kanetsugu Pro-M (from JapaneseChefsKnife), Takamura R2 (MTC Kitchen), Tanaka VG10 (price shopping around on ebay), but only in scenarios where I could ensure the initial edge was okay or otherwise to resharpen and add some edge durability before delivering to recipient. And these are less confident suggestions if there is not a good whetstone sharpener nearby or that you know and do mail-in sharpening to.
Semi-annual sharpening seems pretty infrequent though for cooking every day for multiple people
Bread knife recommendations? I've heard not to get anything expensive since the serration makes it hard/impossible to sharpen. I would imagine a knife like that doesn't dull as fast as others based off what it's used with and doesn't contact a cutting board nearly as much, so a decent one could probably last quite a long time?
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yes, you should consider a bread knife "disposable", but even when cutting very crusty bread at restaurant quantities "disposable" still means a half dozen years and at home usage levels "disposable" means a lifetime. Harder knives are NOT necessarily better when it comes to bread. You do NOT need a Damascus knife for bread unless you're an interior decorator, not a gourmet. Harder knives are NOT necessarily better when it comes to bread. LOW ot MID range hardness steel would be best.
If you want an "el cheapo" The Mercer Millenia offset bread knife is spectacular and the victorinox is pretty darn good. As much as I hate ATK knife reviews, the Mercer won in the bread knife category, and in this case, I agree with them. Of course Mercer has several better quality lines. I's also HIGHLY HIGHLY recommend the Tojiro ITK bread knife. My personal "go to" bread knife.
I use the F Dick Offset Bread Knife, I got the recommendation from Tony Bourdain and I really like it. Should be about $40 (
I saw this "Apogee Culinary Dragon Fusion Kitchen Knife w/BD1N" on Massdrop and I find the look is interesting. The Drop is already ended, so my question is when Massdrop can do this knife again ? Also, anyone already has this knife, finds it good ? I guess the best way to find the right knife is to hold it, and test it out on your own.
They MIGHT do it again, but it is available at other retailers for only about 5 bucks more than it was on "drop".
It IS a great veggie knife but it is a VERY strange knife. it is almost a "rocking" nakiri. Takes a LOT to get used to it. It is NOT for everyone. I HIGHLY recommend not just holding it in your hand, not just cutting for 10 minutes, but cutting a few bags of potatoes with one before deciding.
Excellent fit and finish, great steel, but VERY strange design which might not be functional for many people.
I find stainless steel hard to sharpen. I am interested in trying a high carbon steel knife. Can anyone recommend a high carbon chef or santoku blade?
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Vintage carbon could be a way to go if you are willing to put in the elbow grease to tune it up to be a good cutter There are also options like Fujiwara FKM which is monosteel carbon I find that the iron clad stuff like Tojiro Shirogami or similar lines can be a rude entry into carbon steel on account of the extra reactivity compared to the core steels
If you find stainless hard to sharpen, at 52-58 Rockwell, you're going to find most carbon steel, harder to sharpen at 54-63 Rockwell. A myth that carbon is easier to sharpen is a mistake in the publics mind because experienced sharpeners say it is easier to get a razor sharp edge than stainless, not that it is easier to get a home cook quality edge. A steel like "german steel" is easier for a novice. In fact, that's why we use stainless in culinary school, to build skill in sharpening, and because it is more forgiving.
Also, it's likely that carbon steel will be "chippier" requiring better skill or discipline of the user.
As far as all these novices recommending the brand that they already ought or that they heard about, it's not really useful because there is no "best" knife. Only "best knife for you" based on your skill set, your discipline, your body shape, your cutting style. If you have them near you go to a REAL knife store (or a company like sur la table or Williams sonona), and try several models and bring in a bag of potatoes, 2 minue demo they give is NOT long enough.
If you're going to buy a knife "blind" without trying it. I recommend a german steel knife from Wusthof, Henckels (with TWO men, not the one with one man), Mercer, Messermeister, FDick, or Dexter. Thise are the brands that are well respected by professional cooks and the ones that most students use in culinary school. Avoid companies that are famous like Cuisinart or Kitchen aid. even though I use many of their kitchen electrics, they do NOT make their own knives, they license their brand to a variety of companies.
I see a lot of discussion about cutting boards so i guess this would be a good place to ask this. For years my father used our thick wood cutting board to do basically everything. he also ran it through the dishwasher repeatedly. pretty thoroughly gouged all over because he though it was amusing to slam a cleaver into it and make it stand up. can it be saved and if so how? if not, Recommendations on cutting boards and should i have a different one for meats and veggies for reasons other than sanitary.
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thanks for the replies guys. sorry i sort of forgot about this thread until last night but it seems that the amount of work involved is just not worth it. i'll be picking up a new one as well as a good chefs knife in the near future.
IF you're going to put it in the dishwasher, use polypropolene boards with NO rubber add ons.
IF you're going to use wood, they're already naturally bacteria resistant, but you should use santizer on them periodically. Putting a wood board in the dishwasher just opens the pores making it MORE likely to grow bacteria, not less.
Periodically you can resurface your board with just a cheap orbital sander or better yet take it to a friend whose a woodworker. It would be great to support a friend or a local business.
There is a company called cotton and dust in texas that makes a GREAT board. BETTER quality than Boos. AND they give free refinishing forever. And they include FREE shipping and handing BOTH directions. I LOVE tem. I'd also recommend an American board maker named Christopher Staveley. SUPERB, but no free refinishing.
Whetstone drops perhaps?
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I'd be happy with Naniwa or Suehiro
Shaptons Please.
If you want a good knife, get a high-carbon steel knife, not a hard stainless knife. I'll never use anything else after spending a lot of hours boning, skinning, and carving. Get you a pair of dexters, and you'll be happy you did.
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I've got one HK knife from Benchmade and it's a good one. It is also ~10 years newer.
I'm a fan of it. OTF knives are like my fidget spinners...
About 6 years ago I replaced all the knives in my kitchen and since then have started giving them as gifts. My whole family has been converted and believes in higher quality knives now.
Most recently I've started buying high quality blade blanks and making oak scales to create my own knives. Pretty easy to do with some basic tools (drill, belt sander, hack saw, & wood saw) and it turns out some great gifts at a low price.
Thats awesome! I've kinda wanted to get started in making knives, but I've already got so man damned hobbies...
Are premium wood cutting boards such a butcher block walnut really necessary to keep edge retention on blades? Do the wooden boards offer any other benefit over the plastic ones ?
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One benefit to end grain: well kept end grain boards can look nearly new after years of use, since the knife cuts don't cut across the wood grains.
Wood IS better, but the most important thing is the DISCIPLINE of the user. Cut perpendicular, not at 89 degrees. No twisting at the end. Don't hammer. Don't pry. Don't bend. Don't scrape produst off the board into a pan with the knife.
I've got VG10 and shirogami knives that have a "reputation" of being "chippy" and in 30 years, i'e never chipped a blade and because I was a chef, they went trhough much more abuse a da than you'll likely see in a month, and we use poly boards because we can run them through a washer. Yes a wood board is better, but it's the discipline that is the bigger factor
Can Damascus finished steel still be sharpened the same as other steels with whetstones?
Yes. Just take your time so you don’t scratch the side layers.
Rarely are we talking about core steels which are a part of the Damascus patterning. Worst case is the Damascus cladding gets scuffed up and needs a refinishing and re-etch to bring the pattern back out
So what would be a good all around kitchen knife for the novice to kitchen knives? I've really grown frustrated with the constant dull knives in our house. It's not that the knives are inherently bad but they don't stay sharp ever. Most are old anyway and I believe my mom never invested in high end knives because my father always used to do weird things with them. It's a different story today and I'm trying to figure out what to get to fix this problem. Is it the knives themselves? Do I just need to learn and acquire better sharpening tools?
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Got a little heated here. Interesting to see though.
Yeah, one might say we got close to losing our temper (haha, temper, like steel...)
I love cooking, but as a student I have to deal with a limited budget. I want to get a knife that is pleasant to use, and very versatile. What kind of knife would you say is most suited for this purpose? Right now I use a cheap (35-40 euros) chef's knife but I'm willing to spend 100 euros on a good knife (or maybe two lesser knives for versatility).
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For 100 Euros you should be able to get a pretty good set of chef and paring knives. Wustof stamped steel knives have the same cutting ability as their much more costly forged ones.
You're a student, and you don't already have a list of approved knives?
If you're a student, you should be using Wusthof, Henckels, Messermeister, Mercer, Dick, Dexter, etc You should stay with these knives until you learn about GEOMETRY, TECHNIQUE and DISCIPLINE and you learn how to sharpen. That's why we chose those for the different levels of your student kits.
Why are you asking a bunch of home cooks? You should ask your chef instructors, you should ask the people next to you when you go on your externship
I'm buying my first paring knife, I've noticed there are varied size options. As I already own a 20cm Chef knife, what sort of size should I look for? Also, I've heard a lot of praise for end grain over edge grain chopping boards, is it actually a big deal?
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Are you just yanking our chains, or is there really a difference between paring and peeling knives?
two separate issues. I know you merged them in to one for brevity. But the length of your length is based on your ergonomics. For a home cook, the difference between a 3 1/2 paring and a 4 paring won't matter, but if you're doing prep for 6 hours, that half difference DOES matter.

You do NOT use a paring knife on a board or only minimally for detail work in which case the knife won't even touch the board with any force.
As far as edge grain, vs end grain, how much cutting are you doing? End grain is slightly "easier" on knives and it is "self repairing". It's also more expensive. Edge grain needs to be refinished more often, is a little harder on blades but is cheaper at initial purchase.
What do you enjoy most about using a knife?
I really enjoy using the right tool for the job, doesn't matter about the tool per say, as I find it satisfying to just use a hammer to put in some nails, or a chainsaw to cut down a tree, or a keyboard+mouse to input commands to a computer. It's the "I'm a human, and we use tools, and this is the absolute best tool for this job and that makes me happy" thing going on, I don't know how else to describe it.
My favorite is a freshly sharpened knife of any kind! Just cutting through things like a laser, watch your fingers! :)
I have a beautiful Shun Hikari chef's knife that I received as a gift. I only use it for chopping vegetables and light work as the blade is too thin to use on anything tough like bones. (Cutting up chicken, filleting fish, etc.)
It's nice to have the precision of the tip of a chef's knife but be able to really smack it down in to joints and such. Should I get a cheapy knife and put a wider edge on it?
What are your solutions for a knife that can do a bit heavier grunt work, but still have some precision?
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They make BONING knives that are designed in shape fo that purpose. A dba or a onesuki or a western boning knife. I HIGHLY recommend a "German steel" boning knife for most people because it is so ductile.
Your issue is NOT the thinness of your blade it is the SHAPE of your blade and the MATERIAL of your blade.
The sg2 portion of your knife is less likely to chip than your vg10 portion. Dual core knives are usually meant to be veggie knives or slab meat knives.
Ooooh SG2. Now you got me all excited. I bought a bar of it from Takefu's table at the Seki show, haven't decided what I want to have it made into yet but I might have enough for a petty and paring as well as some pocket knives. Some day...
Hi, I'm a student learning how to cook from my mum :) However, she doesn't know much about knives at all. I'd like to keep a sharp edge to the knives we use in the kitchen, it makes work oh so much easier and safer. However, we have neither the skills nor patience to work with sharpening stones. Hence, my bold request: Is there a sharpening stone in the form of a honing steel, or something similar enough?
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If you have the angle control to use a steel well, you've not got too far to go to being able to sharpen on a whetstone
be careful some BAD advice in this thread.
A honing rod is NOT a sharpening rod, but there are some sharpeing rods out of ceramic (good), diamond (bad to mediocre) and tungsten carbide (junk).
Messermeister, Tadea and Idahone make halfway decent ceramic rods. they will not ge your knife anywhere close to a good stone, but it works well in a pinch. Do not buy no-name ceramic rods, they might work, but a 10 dollar difference over 10 years is only a dollar a year for better quality. And if you thought you were saving money, you're not. A Messermeister or tadea will still be around a doze years from now, and give you superior performance. that no name might not last 5 years and the money you thought you saved was NOT savings, especially when you have substandard performance in the meantime.
Do NOT use carbide rods
Diamond can be OK based on grit level, based on the adhesion layer. Do NOT buy cheap diamond rods. They are a waste of money. They are really rough on knives and wear them away. So if you have a cheap knife that you'll replace later as you build skill, go ahead and use diamond. If you have a good knife only use diamond sparingly.
What should I look for when choosing a good quality knife at a budget? Are there any brands that I should be looking for/ avoiding?
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Some good budget knives I use with regularity are a Kuma 8" chef's knife for $30 on amazon, a Cozilife ($30) and an Imarku ($40) all three are excellent choices in the "budget" category.
The victorinox is NOT a bad knife, but the ATK review was complete and utter lies.
A wusthof pro is cheaper and better. A dexter icut pro, dexter sanisafe, a mercer millennia or genssis, a Messermeister park plaza, are also far superior but about the same price point.
For those of you who have multiple cooks in the house, do you have 1 chef/ santoku knife that everyone uses or multiple? My partner and I cannot agree on 1 chef knife...His hands are much bigger than mine and that in of itself seems to throw everything else off...shape of the handle, length, weight distribution...we just can't agree...
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Unsolicited gift idea: Sharpen her favorite knife
Cheap, easy and still quite thoughtful... I love it!! Well played, internet stranger!
What grits of whetstones do you all use? At the moment I only have one stone, and while it worked for the knife it was bought for, now that I have a different knife, sharpening seems a chore.
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I think I may actually already have a nagura stone.
When I bought a knife a long long time back, I asked the knife guy if he had any recommendations on stones and he sold me an 800 King stone and it had one of those in the box. I also bought a lapping stone at the same time.
As I said, the medium grit stone seemed to work great with the knife I bought it with but the one I have now seems to need the higher grit polishing step more (and some asshole broke ALL of the stones we had at work, not that I could remember which color was what with the labels worn off)
120, 400, 600, 1000, and 5000
Just wondering, there's a lot of options for chef knives, especially material wise, and they can get to be very expensive. I know some people spend hundreds on one chef knife that is their go to, and maintain it on a regular interval. But I've never heard of anyone spending hundreds on a bread knife, though such bread knives exist. Does it matter what blade material a bread knife is made of? I've had very cheap bread knives in the past and they've never not accomplished their goal, which is just to cut bread.
Also, what's the proper way of sharpening and honing a bread knife?
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Agree with this. I have a Mercer Millennium bread knife. What you want to look for is the right spacing of tines. Too small, and you lose the mechanical advantage of serration. The Victorinox or Mercer are great options. There are other high end options too, but unless you use it every day, probably not worth it
you don't sharpen a bread knife unless you have more time than sense. It would take 3 hours to sharpen a bread knife.
You CAN get bread knives as part of the set, but that is completely ridiculous. they added that for people who are fashion conscious, not working cooks or even home gourmets. Bread knives are SERRATED They "tear" through bread and crust, not slice. that is so they don't compress (flatten) the bread
They don't really "wear out". Even in a restaurant, one would last years. In a home, it would last a lifetime. Yes the material DOES matter, you do NOT want one "too hard" (high Rockwell) or too soft (low Rockwell). The SHAPE and type of serrations are what matter.
I would HIGHLY Suggest a Mercer Millenia Bread knife if low budget (remember it will last a lifetime) or a Tojiro ITK Bread if mid budget. A victorinox bread knife isn't bad either, but a FAR distant third to the previous two options.
Frankly I'm just a college student who likes cooking but is too lazy to do it, but I've just purchased a couple of Zhen knives from the drop (The 7-inch Santoku Micarta & the 8-inch TPR Cleaver) as my first set of proper kitchen knives, I got the cleaver because it is very versatile in Chinese cooking. But my main question is maintenance, how does one do so, sharpening stones and what not, I have no clue whatsoever, sharpening it and such. Heck, I'm still learning to cut things up properly to be honest.
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Knife sharpening becomes a meditative task, listen to some music, de-stress...
Ha totally hear you man!
What are the best way(s) to transport knives? For example bringing a few to a friend's house to help prep.
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A chef's knife roll... Check Amazon.
Knife roll I like Boldric, but almost every company (mercer, victorinox, shun, etc) makes one. Ultimate edge is really popular amongst professionals, too Mise has some nce ones but they are priced past the point of diminishing returns.

Buy those plastic blade covers and you're good to go. As "best value" for a home cook, I'd recommend Messermeister brand Victoinox makes GREAT "blade safes" for each knife. A little higher priced, but really nice. I DO think it's worth the few extra dollars to get a "blade safe" vs just the sleeves
I have so many questions! first, I am a complete novice when it comes to knives... I don't have a nice knife set, but would like to start a collection of nice knives - most likely one or two at a time. With that said, what should I start with? What brands to you recommend? What style of knife should be my first purchase? And what type of cutting board is best? Right now I am using a plastic one which as you can imagine is getting pretty chewed up. Thank you!
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I have 3 main knives and I only use others when I don’t want to abuse my 3 babies. Chef knife gets used most, my 80mm paring knife is second and my 135 utility knife get used the least. For cutting boards, NEVER glass. Wood is best in my opinion but requires a bit more care. I only recommend plastic boards for people who have a dish washer so it can be sterilized (The deep grooves in the plastic can hold on to bacteria). I also prefer having specific boards for raw and everything else.
Lot's of bad advice.
First, look at the knives we have culinary students use. We have those for a reason because they are sturdy, represent good value at their respected price point.
If you're an amateur you should be using GERMAN STEEL. Every culinary student is using german steel for a reason. Because it is forgiving and you will learn knife cutting and sharpening technique and discipline, do it for a reasonable cost and it won't break
You'll see student knife kits are always Mercer, Wusthof, Henckels (with TWO men, not one man), Messermeister, Dick, or Dexter.
As far as styles, Chefs knife or santoku first. Second Paring, Third Utility and a serated Bread knife.
Wood boards ARE better for home, but poly boards with NOT rubber or silicone are perfectly fine and what professionals use every day> Plastic boards can be refinished but just donate it to goodwill and buy a new one if you're not near a refinisher. Wood workers don't want to do it because it would gum up their belts.
What kind of sharpener do you guys recommend for keeping in the kitchen? Recently I have taken my knives to a professional sharpener to get a good edge back after I lived with some careless roommates. Now that they are sharp again what's the best way to keep that edge on them? A Honing Steel rod thingy, or one of those counter-top ceramic v things?
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It's good to hear someone give you a complete picture of honing and sharpening like in this video:
NEITHER DO not use those carpy hand sharpeners, and the rods are of MUCH different quality. A steel does NOT sharpen a knife. it HONES a knife. A ceramic rod is fin. Do NOT use tunstun carbide. Diamond is not too bad, but do NOT buy a cheap one, the cheap ones lose their abrasive quickly.
Even a beginner can learn to sharpen on a 30-50 dollar stone and sharpening might take 10 minutes. MUCH better for most people.