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Posted: 12/2/2007 11:58:10 AM EDT
Girlfriend wants a new butcher block of knives for Christmas. The current set is Farberware and seems to have done fine. I am a brand and quality whore though, so I want some opinions on what the blade gurus use.
thanks
Link Posted: 12/2/2007 12:09:29 PM EDT
Link Posted: 12/2/2007 2:50:46 PM EDT
As with anything else, it all depends on how much you want to spend.
I have Global knives and I love 'em.
Henckels and Wusthof are big heavy traditional German knives.
The Global knives are from Japan, and they are more ergonomic, lighter, and with their convex edges they can be made much sharper.
These three are generally considered the top of the line kitchen knives.
Link Posted: 12/2/2007 5:55:56 PM EDT
We have a set of Henkels and I love them. Any good set will blow you away compared to crap knives. I don't even need a bread knife anymore, I can keep mine sharp enough to cut a loaf of bread without the serations. Took me a while to lay out the cash but I wish I would have sooner.


Next, ask me about the dyson.
Link Posted: 12/2/2007 5:55:58 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/2/2007 5:56:52 PM EDT by Faustrocket]
oops.
Link Posted: 12/2/2007 7:08:01 PM EDT
I have a Kershaw Wasbi that I love and my wife likes her Cold Steel stuff a lot. If money was not a problem though and I purchased a new set of knives it would be Kershaw Shuns.
Link Posted: 12/2/2007 7:19:22 PM EDT
Henkels

I've got some pieces, they're pretty nice but pricy

stay away from the "international" sets (read as "made in china/taiwan")
Link Posted: 12/2/2007 7:56:09 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/2/2007 7:56:59 PM EDT by burney]
Like the other posters have said, the Henkels are awesome. Took me about a year buying one here and there to get the kitchen outfitted like I wanted. They are expensive, but eight years of constant use and they still look new. Goshamighty sharp too.

Stay away from the "International" models. Real German Henkels have the "twin men" on the blades. I promise you will be satisfied with their quality.
Link Posted: 12/2/2007 10:42:04 PM EDT
Link Posted: 12/3/2007 8:33:29 AM EDT
Thanks for the replies. I think I will go with this set

16-pc. Forged Knife Block Set
by Henckels, Professional S $529.00
Link Posted: 12/3/2007 11:11:39 AM EDT
You might look at Kershaw Shun's

I love mine!
Link Posted: 12/3/2007 11:24:41 AM EDT
That's a lot of dough for that set.

There are only three knives in there you will need on a regular basis:
8-in. Chef's Knife
3-in. Paring Knife
5-in. Hollow Edge Santoku Knife

I also dislike knife blocks. They take up a huge amount of space on the counter, promote rusting and dull your knives. I keep mine on an industrial grade magnetic wall rack.

If you have the coin and really want the steak knives, get the set.
They are quality knives but your paying top dollar for the shears and the steel too.
When was the last time you needed a boning knife?


Colonel Hurtz
Link Posted: 12/3/2007 1:57:56 PM EDT
I realize the set is probably overkill. I just didn't like the look of empty spaces on the block. I'll see about the magnetic rack.
Link Posted: 12/4/2007 7:35:48 AM EDT
Let the block have empty spaces.

You're better off spending $100 on a single, high-quality 8" chef's knife than you are spending $250 on a 30-piece set of stamped crap.
Quality > Quantity

Besides, the open/empty slots in a knife block are useful for holding all sorts of other kitchen tools. Zester, peeler, various scrapers and shapes, etc. Heck, drill extra holes if you want to. It's just a block of wood. It might be a nice-looking block of wood but it's still just a block of wood.

If you get a magnetic rack, get one that's rubber-coated or else put a rubber coating on it. Don't touch your nice knives to another metal surface.

Teach her how to hone a blade. Tell her to never, ever, ever, ever consider touching her blade to any sharpening device. Professional knife sharpeners sharpen knives - you don't. Also, if she doesn't know basic and advanced cutting techniques, get her a book.


If you're a "quality whore" then you know that most of the "buy your female friend this wonderful kitchen gadget for Christmas" are pure and utter crap. Knives can be the same way. Think of it this way - very few Americans cook their own food but every kitchen has at least one set of knives. My mother-in-law has the dullest set of knives I've ever seen and she says she likes them because she can't cut herself with them. Can't cut anything else either, but you know...

So just ask yourself if your girlfriend is actually going to cook with the knives you get her. If she just wants something pretty to look at while she puts a frozen pizza in the oven then go for the 86-piece set with all the bells and whistles. Shop eBay to try and save some cash.

If, on the other hand, she's actually going to use them then you really need to get her preference on things. There are a lot of variations between brands and product lines and you need to know what features she wants.

* Do not compromise on steel. Get the absolute best you can afford. If the manufacturer won't give you details on the alloy, heat treatment properties, hardness, impact resistance, edge geometry, etc. then walk away.
* Avoid shaped or contoured handles. It's a gimmick. Only half of your hand should be on the handle anyhow. Grip the knife properly with your thumb and forefinger pinching the blade (like a fist with the pad of the thumb and the top of the forefinger, not like you're picking up a toothpick) - does that "ergonomic ridge" in the middle of the handle still feel comfortable? Didn't think so.
* Find her balance preference. A well-forward weight gives more power to long cuts. If she wants this, get her a Chinese (style, not necessarily manufacture) cleaver. Neutral or negative balance gives you more tip control - useful for things like paring tasks and other fine control. The most common is going to have the balance point slightly forward, about 1" to 1.5" forward of the shoulder of the tang. It's great for all-around control and power.
* Find size preference. Most people are most comfortable starting out with an 8" knife. It's a good balance of control, speed, power and utility.

In the end, you're probably better off buying her a nice boxed set of three knives than a block full of useless steel.


I use Shun Classics. Excellent knives, IMHO.
I'm not crazy about European knives but they certainly have their merits.
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