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Thread: Kitchen Knives

  1. #1
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    Kitchen Knives

    Most of our kitchen knives were inexpensive and are decades old. They don't seem to get dull ever. One exception is a slightly more expensive Kitchen Aid knife we have had a few years. It goes dull when hardly used. Sure I could buy more expensive knives but well,,,"fool me once..."

    The old knives are meeting our needs.

  2. #2
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    If you have tools that work, stick with them.
    Some 35 years ago we bought a set of Henckels knives when we were first starting out. They weren't cheap,but not super expensive either. They're still in daily use to this day. They do get dull from time to time though.
    "The first thing you need to know, will likely be the last thing you learn." (Unknown)

  3. #3
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    In my experience, whenever someone shows me a knife like yours - stays sharp forever - two things are true: first, it's not actually very sharp; second, it's made of a stainless alloy that is almost impossible to re-sharpen adequately. I'm curious - have you found an exception?

  4. #4
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    Old knives are just fine as long as you can get them sharp and keep them sharp. Any knife that will not keep an edge is a dangerous knife. It sounds like your older knives are decent products so yea...keep them in service. And throw out that one that will not stay sharp or dedicate it to slitting open Amazon delivery boxes.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  5. #5
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    It's all about the steel. I have a couple of old carbon steel knives that hold a razor edge for a long time. I also have three commercial quality (meat packing industry) stainless knives that are over 35 years old and also hold a decent edge. We have a couple knives that hang around because my bride likes them. The steel is junk. Copper would hold a better edge. If I had my druthers I'd rather have all carbon steel. They take a keener edge and last longer.
    Sharp solves all manner of problems.

  6. #6
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    we have some old carbon steel that i truly love as well. every time they are used by my other half, i get complaints that they are not a full offset handle though, and sometimes they get left wet in the sink. these things may be connected.

    we also have some stainless knives by shun that are very nice. try to get them sharpened every other year or so by a guy at the farmers market, who also has a shop that does saws and everything else.

    your stainless knife may just have not had a good edge from the factory, get them all sharpened and see what happens.

  7. #7
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    If you have knives that "don't seem to get dull ever," I suspect either your knives don't see much use, or your expectations are different from mine. I have a variety of different knife brands in the kitchen, from inexpensive (Victorinox) to mid-price (Chicago Cutlery) to higher-end (Henckels and Wusthof). Many are 25+ years old, and all will take a good edge (knives that wouldn't have found new homes). Some hold that edge longer than others, but all need regular sharpening. Frequency varies. If I'm getting ready to slice up a ripe tomato, the knife gets a few strokes on a steel, regardless of how recently it's been sharpened. The knife I use most often for chopping vegetables probably sees the steel once or twice a week.

    That said, I'm pretty sure there are regulars over in the Neanderthal Haven forum who would pitch my entire collection of wood chisels in the trash, deeming them inadequate even to donate to Goodwill

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adam Herman View Post
    we also have some stainless knives by shun that are very nice. try to get them sharpened every other year or so by a guy at the farmers market, who also has a shop that does saws and everything else.
    Shuns are very nice. I'd like to have one of their Chef's Knives but the missus might not appreciate the cost. My Dexter-Russell commercial will have to do for now. It's served me well since 1982.

    Quote Originally Posted by Adam Herman View Post
    ... your stainless knife may just have not had a good edge from the factory, get them all sharpened and see what happens.
    I've got the sharpening thing figured out. My commercial stainless knives (Dexter-Russell , Victorinox, and Cuisinart) all hold an edge well. The stainless is hardened to a reasonable level. They see a steel prior to each use and are honed regularly.

    The couple that my wife likes (and wants to keep) are cheap offshore knives we got when we were young and poor. The steel is very soft. They are "sharpen prior to use" knives and won't hold a fine edge. I think my wife likes them that way, as when I sharpen the good knives up properly she's somewhat alarmed at how sharp they get. Scary sharp is an apt description in her case.
    Sharp solves all manner of problems.

  9. #9
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    We have a knif that was made by my wifeís uncle. I would guess that itís probably from a powe hacksaw blade. Definitely not stainless. That thing is a real stinker to sharpen but the edge seems to last. The thin blades make them about the best tomato slicers Iíve ever had. The weak link is the handles. On one ( my favorite) the wood just sort of disintegrated. Since I use the knife mostly for tomato slicing, I made the scales different thicknesses. One side is 3/16 and the other is 1/4. I can hold the knife flat on the cutting board and move the tomato through it like a mandolin.

  10. #10
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    Roger, your tomato slicing method sounds like one for me to give a try. Candy likes her tomato slices thick whereas my preference is for thin. This seems like a great method to have it both ways without any fuss.

    Tomato slicing is my standard test for kitchen knife sharpness. Most of the time the knives are given a few passes on an extra fine diamond stone epoxied to a piece of hardwood before using.

    Two of our knives are WŁsthof, purchased many years ago. There is something to be said about the day a man and woman go out together to buy knives. One large knife is a Chicago Cutlery purchased in the 1970s from the Berkeley Co-op for ~$10. The paring knives were purchased one at a time. One is a Japanese 'Mac' knife, one is a small no name knife and one was purchased in a small grocery store while camping because we forgot to pack a paring knife for the trip. The no name knife's handle was starting to delaminate. Soaking it in BLO fixed that.

    They all seem to hold an edge well with minimum touch up on the diamond stone kept in a kitchen drawer. About once a year they get carried out to the shop for a full sharpening session. My wife has made it clear to let her know when this takes place.

    At one time my preference was for carbon steel knives. my preference was changed after getting married to a woman with three daughters. They failed to understand the part about not letting knives sit unwashed or soaking.

    Some stainless will pit if left soaking with silver plated or sterling silver utensils.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Ragatz View Post
    If you have knives that "don't seem to get dull ever," I suspect either your knives don't see much use, or your expectations are different from mine.
    Agreed. There's no such thing as a kitchen knife that won't get to a state of not being 'acceptably sharp' after moderate use. My best kitchen knife is an expensive Henckles and it needs touching up after a few serious chopping sessions. There are lots of better knives, but they all get dull & need to be sharpened.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Koepke View Post
    At one time my preference was for carbon steel knives. my preference was changed after getting married to a woman with three daughters. They failed to understand the part about not letting knives sit unwashed or soaking.
    Aye, edge holding has a lot to do with how the knife is handled. My rule is, the knife does not leave my hand after use until it is washed and dried. As you've noticed, this is very hard to teach to other philisti..., er, people. :^)

  13. #13
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    We have some somewhat expensive knives, in addition to the Henckel's I mentioned. They all need sharpening from time to time, no doubts there.
    I do have a Takeda large cleaver, Chukabocho, that scares me to use now that I know how much it cost. But wow! does that thing do a nice job.
    Like Doug, it doesn't leave my hand until it's back in the box and put away.
    "The first thing you need to know, will likely be the last thing you learn." (Unknown)

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Dawson View Post
    Aye, edge holding has a lot to do with how the knife is handled. My rule is, the knife does not leave my hand after use until it is washed and dried. As you've noticed, this is very hard to teach to other philisti..., er, people. :^)
    I agree with this totally. Unfortunately, with three others in the house, I have to touch "my" knives up with frequency because others don't handle them as carefully as I do.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Cutler View Post
    We have some somewhat expensive knives, in addition to the Henckel's I mentioned. They all need sharpening from time to time, no doubts there.
    I do have a Takeda large cleaver, Chukabocho, that scares me to use now that I know how much it cost. But wow! does that thing do a nice job.
    Like Doug, it doesn't leave my hand until it's back in the box and put away.
    Plus, there's the issue of reaching into the dish sink and coming into contact with a properly sharpened knife. Ooooh...

    I have some Wusthofs, but I mainly use Globals and Japanese artisanal knives, and this could be quite memorable. Buck Henry, RIP, had an encounter live on SNL with John Belushi's samurai sword, and kept going, I don't know if I could do that.

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