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recs for a good knife set

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gingerBcookie

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hello fellow ps''ers! i haven''t posted in a while, finishing residency has me relegated to occasional lurker status
anyway, hubby and i are starting to lok into buying a good knife set -- the research is overwhleming, and i know ps''ers are the best at sorting through the info, so i was hoping ya''ll could point us in a good direction. help?
 

cara

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Go to a fairly high end store that has a variety of brands AND will let you hold them in your hand and try them out - each person will have their own preferences on weight and balance of knife, handle grip, etc. You will have an opinion then! For example, when we went shopping, I rejected some knives as too light (that my husband thought were fine), my husband rejected some others with uncomfortable handles (that I was more OK with) and we both had some aesthetic preferences. We ended up with Wusthof Classic as a solid set acceptable to us both... Then you can shop around and buy a set or go with individual pieces to get exactly what you want.
 

Hudson_Hawk

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crate and barrell will sometimes let you try out their knives. I have Whustof knives, but I LOVE Shun.
 

AmberGretchen

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Date: 3/25/2009 5:07:50 PM
Author: cara
Go to a fairly high end store that has a variety of brands AND will let you hold them in your hand and try them out - each person will have their own preferences on weight and balance of knife, handle grip, etc. You will have an opinion then! For example, when we went shopping, I rejected some knives as too light (that my husband thought were fine), my husband rejected some others with uncomfortable handles (that I was more OK with) and we both had some aesthetic preferences. We ended up with Wusthof Classic as a solid set acceptable to us both... Then you can shop around and buy a set or go with individual pieces to get exactly what you want.
Ditto, exactly. Down to ending up with the Wusthof Classic
 

ladypirate

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I agree with the advice that has been given (we have the Wusthoff Classic knives too!). I'd also recommend going with individual knives rather than a set, since you will probably end up with pieces you don't need. To me, the vitals are:

8" or 10" Chef's Knife
8" or 9" Serrated Bread Knife
3" or 4" Paring Knife
6" Utility Knife

The others will be more dependant on what you do when you cook.
 

Kay

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Date: 3/25/2009 5:35:54 PM
Author: AmberGretchen

Date: 3/25/2009 5:07:50 PM
Author: cara
Go to a fairly high end store that has a variety of brands AND will let you hold them in your hand and try them out - each person will have their own preferences on weight and balance of knife, handle grip, etc. You will have an opinion then! For example, when we went shopping, I rejected some knives as too light (that my husband thought were fine), my husband rejected some others with uncomfortable handles (that I was more OK with) and we both had some aesthetic preferences. We ended up with Wusthof Classic as a solid set acceptable to us both... Then you can shop around and buy a set or go with individual pieces to get exactly what you want.
Ditto, exactly. Down to ending up with the Wusthof Classic
Me too! My favorite is the Hollow Edge Santoku Knife. http://www.cooking.com/products/shprodde.asp?SKU=185793&CCAID=FROOGLE185793
 

vespergirl

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The Japanese Globals are the best. Kyocera ceramics are awesome too - my BIL got me one for Xmas last year, and I use it every day.

I have a bunch of Henckels and Wustof that I bought when I first got in to cooking, but now that I''ve tried the Japanese knives, I wish I had bought a set of Globals. Now that I have tried them, I would never spend $ on the German brands again - very expensive, and, IMO, not as good.
 

Pandora II

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I'm horribly picky about knives... you need to find one that fits nicely into your hand and has good weight and balance.

Also if you are buying expensive knives get a proper steel for sharpening and get them to show you how to use it (quality knives are an investment and should last you a lifetime). Knife sharpening blocks ruin your knives - as does cutting on glass. My Japanese knives come with a sharpening block and a DVD on how to do it!

My favourite makes are:

Sabatier Classic - good French knives for everyday

8" Bread Knife
6" Slicer
6" Boning
8" Chefs
6" Chefs
4" Parer
10" Steel

Kai Shun - Japanese knives

Kai Shun 6.5" Santoku (beautiful Damascus steel)
Kai Shun Pro 9.5" Yanagiba

I hope to add to these, but they're incredibly expensive. DH gave me these two for my birthday and I bought DH the Kai Shun damascus work steak knife set for Christmas - so beautiful...

I've been eyeing up the carving set...
 

cellososweet

Brilliant_Rock
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Feb 12, 2006
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876
I like Henckels but I have super long fingers and tend to hold my knives in a super specific way because I have sensitive finger tips from playing cello for so long.

I second going to hold the knives.

One thing that I''ll recommend though, get a santoku knife! They are awesome for tofu, tomatoes, and all those things that either smush or stick to knives.

I like having separate hard and soft cheese knives as well because they are easier to manage, if cheese if your thing :)
 

April20

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3,312
We have Wusthof and love them. We have an 8 or 9 piece block and added a knife as well (can''t remember what it is- it''s the type Rachel Ray is always using). They are the perfect weight for us, but that really varies from person to person- it''s all down to preference. I would go to a good kitchen store that carries several lines and test drive a few until you find what you like.

My biggest piece of advice would be to not cheap out. Make the investment to the highest degree you can afford. There is nothing worse than a cheap knife that dulls easily. There are more injuries from dull knives than sharp ones.
 

JulieN

Super_Ideal_Rock
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13,329
first thing is to NOT get a set.

bread knife: well-made German.

Two "all purpose" knives, IMO: one super sharp/hard steel like Shun/MAC/Misono/Tojiro and one softer German (Messermeister) that you're not afraid to use a little rougher. OR, a Chinese meat cleaver instead of the German ($10 bucks instead of $150) since I think you should have access to an Asian grocery store.

I have the Shun pictured above by Pandora.

And then for your parers and utilities, Forschner. $4 each.

And finally, that $150 you saved by getting the Chinese cleaver, you can get a sharpening system: http://www.edgeproinc.com/productsapex.html
 

sunkist

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Hi Ginger! Good to see you
We have a Globe knife that I really like. But even better (read - a lot cheaper and quality just as good) is to go to a restaurant supply store. We have a lot of Messermeister pieces that are not expensive at all and work perferctly! My hubby went to cooking school so he buys all the kitchen supplies for me. But I love these knives.
 

VRBeauty

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10,287
I recently got myself a set of Forschner Fibrox handle knives on my brother''s recommendation -- he''s used this brand for many years now. These knives are also one of the Cooks Illustrated (America''s Test Kitchen) recommended brands. They''re made by Victorinox, the Swiss Army Knife people. They''re not fancy, which is reflected in the price. I paid less than $150 for the set.
 

Octavia

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I love my Wusthof Classics. I also loved the feel of the Globals but I knew I''d never be able to sharpen a single-edged knife -- I''m not that good. If I trusted myself not to wreck them, I''d have gotten them in a second, though. But for everyday practicality, I just prefer the German knives (Wusthof in particular, though I know a bunch of people who like Henckels for some reason. I don''t). I''d love to get Global for "special" use, though.
 

movie zombie

Super_Ideal_Rock
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i agree with the don''t buy a set advice.

mz
 

JulieN

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Date: 3/25/2009 9:39:44 PM
Author: Octavia
I love my Wusthof Classics. I also loved the feel of the Globals but I knew I''d never be able to sharpen a single-edged knife -- I''m not that good. If I trusted myself not to wreck them, I''d have gotten them in a second, though. But for everyday practicality, I just prefer the German knives (Wusthof in particular, though I know a bunch of people who like Henckels for some reason. I don''t). I''d love to get Global for ''special'' use, though.
Globals aren''t single-edged.
 

AsscherGirl

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Joined
Jun 24, 2005
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I have the Shun knives as well; I''m really enjoying them. I had bought a set, but it had just the basics (8" chefs knife, paring knife, scissors, slicing knife) and I filled in with a bread knife & santoku (both from Shun as well). I bought them b/c Alton Brown recommends them. I am left handed and supposedly there is a left handed version of these knives around, but I''ve been using the right handed ones with no problem (I admit to using right handed scissors all through elementary school :)).

I have had them about 1.5 years and haven''t needed to have them sharpened yet. I hone them probably every 5 or 6 times I use them and that seems to keep the blade edge nice & straight.
 

October2008bride

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Joined
Sep 4, 2007
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HIIII Ginger!! I''m so glad you are back!!


We have just started collecting our knife set because we can''t afford the whole set yet - but we have Shun knives as well...they are incredible!!
 

Hudson_Hawk

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Date: 3/25/2009 6:55:21 PM
Author: Pandora II
Here''s a pic of the Kai Shun:
mmm so pretty, I love Shun knives.
 

monarch64

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Date: 3/25/2009 10:31:27 PM
Author: october2008bride
HIIII Ginger!! I''m so glad you are back!!


We have just started collecting our knife set because we can''t afford the whole set yet - but we have Shun knives as well...they are incredible!!
Ditto!!!

I have no knife advice to offer, but wanted to say it''s nice to see you again!
 

elrohwen

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First, I would find a place that specializes in knives. I got my nice chef's knife at a place that carries tons of brands and knows all about every single one of them. After giving them a price range, they were able to point me in the right direction and help me with my purchase.

My second piece of advice would be to consider getting only one or two very nice knives instead of a set. I firmly believe that everything you need to do can be done with a chef's knife and a small paring knife. If you focus your money on just these two items, you can get a much higher quality than if you are purchasing a set of 5+ knives (most of which you'll never use).

My current knife is a Wusthof santoku style chef's knife and I adore it. We have a knife set (not an expensive one) and after getting my high quality chef's knife I never use the set.

ETA: What price range are you looking at?

ETA2: Some have mentioned getting high quality bread knives, but I find that totally unnecessary (for me personally, that is). For how often I use a bread knife and how little precision is demanded of them, I'm fine with getting a cheap one and working to keep it sharp (cheap knives are so much nicer when sharp). I would much rather spend my money on the knife/knives I will use daily. If you would be using a bread knife daily, then it might be worth it to get a higher quality bread knife.
 

ladypirate

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Date: 3/26/2009 11:12:42 AM
Author: elrohwen
First, I would find a place that specializes in knives. I got my nice chef''s knife at a place that carries tons of brands and knows all about every single one of them. After giving them a price range, they were able to point me in the right direction and help me with my purchase.

My second piece of advice would be to consider getting only one or two very nice knives instead of a set. I firmly believe that everything you need to do can be done with a chef''s knife and a small paring knife. If you focus your money on just these two items, you can get a much higher quality than if you are purchasing a set of 5+ knives (most of which you''ll never use).

My current knife is a Wusthof santoku style chef''s knife and I adore it. We have a knife set (not an expensive one) and after getting my high quality chef''s knife I never use the set.

ETA: What price range are you looking at?

ETA2: Some have mentioned getting high quality bread knives, but I find that totally unnecessary (for me personally, that is). For how often I use a bread knife and how little precision is demanded of them, I''m fine with getting a cheap one and working to keep it sharp (cheap knives are so much nicer when sharp). I would much rather spend my money on the knife/knives I will use daily. If you would be using a bread knife daily, then it might be worth it to get a higher quality bread knife.
That''s true--I think for us it makes sense because we bake a lot of bread.
 

Octavia

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Date: 3/25/2009 10:13:59 PM
Author: JulieN
Date: 3/25/2009 9:39:44 PM

Author: Octavia

I love my Wusthof Classics. I also loved the feel of the Globals but I knew I''d never be able to sharpen a single-edged knife -- I''m not that good. If I trusted myself not to wreck them, I''d have gotten them in a second, though. But for everyday practicality, I just prefer the German knives (Wusthof in particular, though I know a bunch of people who like Henckels for some reason. I don''t). I''d love to get Global for ''special'' use, though.

Globals aren''t single-edged.
Really? Oh man...obviously the salesperson didn''t know what he was talking about, then. He went on and on about the care and maintenance required to keep single-edged knives (which he said Globals and Shuns were) in good shape. It was a supposedly trustworthy kitchen place, too
Oh well, I do love the ones I have and they were quite a bit cheaper, but still, I guess I should have done more research (or known better than to buy them before I found PS!).
 

elrohwen

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Date: 3/26/2009 12:12:16 PM
Author: ladypirate

That''s true--I think for us it makes sense because we bake a lot of bread.
Haha, I avoid the bread making because I''ll eat a whole loaf in two days
Not good for the ol'' waist line.

And when I do make bread, I tend to rip off chunks for eating instead of actually using my bread knife
 

Pandora II

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Once you have been taught how to sharpen a knife properly it's actually quite easy, even single-edged (practice on something that isn't super expensive
) - and sharp knives are so much safer and easier to use.

Definitely don't buy sets - I have specific favourites that I use 90% of the time and most sets don't include those but do have a load of knives that you never need! DH and I give each other the expensive knives as birthday/xmas presents (we're soooo romantic) - I was given my first Shun as it was my 33rd birthday and the Damascus was a 33 fold.


Well worth a trip to a specialist store where you can really try them out and where the SA's want you to be truly happy.
 

April20

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We actually do have a set, but to re-iterate the posters saying to NOT get a set, we use the one knife we bought seperately about 90% of the time. Of the smaller knives, there is one I love best and then we use the bread knife. We do use the others with some regularity, but really, those 3 get the most mileage and we could have just bought those and been perfectly fine.
 

FrekeChild

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19,456
Date: 3/25/2009 5:07:50 PM
Author: cara
Go to a fairly high end store that has a variety of brands AND will let you hold them in your hand and try them out - each person will have their own preferences on weight and balance of knife, handle grip, etc. You will have an opinion then! For example, when we went shopping, I rejected some knives as too light (that my husband thought were fine), my husband rejected some others with uncomfortable handles (that I was more OK with) and we both had some aesthetic preferences. We ended up with Wusthof Classic as a solid set acceptable to us both... Then you can shop around and buy a set or go with individual pieces to get exactly what you want.
Good advice here. I also ended up with Wustof Classic. Love them.

BTW, I also bought mine all separately. Wouldn't do it any other way...Even so I ended up with two I hardly ever use. Meh.
 

gingerBcookie

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1,858
wow...you guys are awesome! it''s great to be back...surprised you guys still remeber me


so to summaraize what''s been said so far

1) Go to specialty knife store
2) Try out all the knives -- prob be based on indvidual feel -- German vs Japanese seems to be the major divide here
3) Don''t buy a set -- go with 1 or 2 high end +/- less expesive set for the lesser used knives

Question -- so there are stores other than WIlliams and SOnoma or Crate and Barrel or BB&B that do nice knives?
 

rainwood

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If I remember right, you are in Houston. You could try Sur La Table. They''d probably have a pretty good selection.
 
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