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Thread: recommendation for kitchen knife steel

  1. #1
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    Question recommendation for kitchen knife steel

    I want to buy a vegetable chopping knife for my wife that I can easily keep sharp.

    I know I don't want stainless steel because it's so hard.

    Will any mild steel blade do?

    Oh, and how about sharpening? I use a small diamond stone and Crock Sticks currently.

    Thanks, Mack
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: recommendation for kitchen knife steel

    A knife made from mild steel will be hopeless at keeping an edge. Good quality cutlery grade stainless is both practical and easy to keep sharp if you buy a diamond sharpener. A cheap one will be fine.

    Non stainless knives often end up stained or rusty unless carefully maintained.

    Learning to properly sharpen a knife is an enjoyable skill.

    Good Luck!
    There is nothing quite as permanent as a good temporary repair.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: recommendation for kitchen knife steel

    I know I don't want stainless steel because it's so hard.

    Eh? - There are perfectly acceptable stainless steels - some are very hard and many are not....

    Will any mild steel blade do?
    EH? - only a madman would make a knife blade from EN1A.

    My latest kitchen knife is a "Kitchen Devil" which I keep sharp with a sabatier steel.
    http://www.johnlewis.com/lion-sabati...0cm/p230843681

    The reason for my choice of stainless knives is that the wife will put the damn things in the dishwasher - and carbon steel knives really really don't like that.
    Even when they work, they don't work well. I blame engineers.
    The only thing engineers have done to the toaster in the last 80 years is make it disposable. I think it applies to a lot of things

  4. #4
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    Default Re: recommendation for kitchen knife steel

    so "cutlery grade stainless" is easily sharpened with a steel

    and there's no reason to have a non-stainless blade in the kitchen. (we don't have a dishwasher)
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  5. #5
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    Default Re: recommendation for kitchen knife steel

    Stainless steel knives are for..............
    Get good carbon steel knives and dry them after you wash them. Like good cast iron frying pans or a good carbon steel or cast iron wok, once you season them, they are almost maintenance free.
    And any stainless knife that's easy to sharpen will go dull cutting a grape. I have a set of stainless steel knives I keep in the kitchen so other people won't use my good knives.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: recommendation for kitchen knife steel

    There are plenty of good quality stainless knives out there. I know several professional chefs who use them all the time. I agree with you about pans and Woks.
    There is nothing quite as permanent as a good temporary repair.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: recommendation for kitchen knife steel

    Having been a chef in my early years exposed me to all manner of knives for working with food. My own experience then and even now is that, for my own use,
    I prefer tools made of forged high carbon steel. Most of my knives are second hand pieces found at resturant supply houses. The blades will take a keener edge than the stainless variety and are much much easier to sharpen. Granted, they must be sharpened more often than stainless but it is an easy job and a steel will keep the edges keen for a long time before sharpening is necessary. I never wash my knives with soap or detergent unless poultry has been involved in their use.
    A rinse under very hot water and a wipe with a paper towel is all that I have ever used to keep them rust free for more than fifty years.
    Jay

  8. #8
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    Default Re: recommendation for kitchen knife steel

    There are good and poor in both stainless and non-stainless knives. Blade shape and handle shape are perhaps even more important, and the latter has to fit your wife's hand well. Take her to the store and have her choose. Cook's Illustrated does an almost semi-annual "best knives" testing; look in your local library for their ratings. Recently they've really been liking the Victorinox Forschner Fibrox knives; I don't have any of them, but have used them in other kitchens, and they are very good.

    Someone on Amazon made a list of the CI "picks" -- http://www.amazon.com/Cooks-Illustra...R27FG2C1FMTA16
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  9. #9
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    Default Re: recommendation for kitchen knife steel

    Another vote for Forschner. I've had some for years and they hold up well. I use a steel quite often and sharpen only now and then. I don't put them in the dishwasher, though.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: recommendation for kitchen knife steel

    I bought my wife a block set of Zwilling JA Henckels knives 30 years ago.

    Still using them

    http://www.zwilling.com/en/knife-series.1206.html

    ... and, if you'll excuse a bit of thread drift, I'm seriously tempted to visit Citadel Knives in Phnom Penh and pick up one of these... I love the Banksia nut handle



    http://www.knives-citadel.com/displayKnife.php?id=105
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  11. #11
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    Default Re: recommendation for kitchen knife steel

    I've been sharpening the knives for most of the restaurants here since "97. Most of them use stainless Henckels and Victorinox with plastic dishwasher-proof handles. My wife and I have a collection of both, but my favorite is a Chicago Cutlery 42 S. The steel isn't any better but I prefer the shape and the wooden handle. I made a gift of a 42 S to one of my better customers and it get's more use than any of their other knives.

    There are lots of them on ebay for cheap.

    http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_trks...at=0&_from=R40

    High carbon steel is harder and has a finer grain. You can get it sharper with about the same effort and it will hold the edge longer so long as it gets wiped clean and dry after each use. It doesn't take much oxidation (rust) to ruin a really fine edge. The detergent used in dishwashers is quite caustic and will "burn" the edge off pretty quickly. I have observed that the best use for the high carbon knives is in a butcher shop. Knives there are coated with a bit of fat most of the time.

    Wooden handles must never go into the dishwasher.

    A really nice shape for chopping veges is the Santuko. Here is a good one. I don't know if the price is good though.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Pre-Owned-He...item43beaa7a77

    There are ceramic knives available nowadays. They take and hold a hell of an edge and they're more durable than I expected they would be. You need diamonds to sharpen them though.

    I've tried a lot of tools and methods for sharpening knives since I do so many and have been doing them for so long and the best for me is Viel Tools S5 sander grinder (page 3) with a 1/3 HP 1750 RPM motor and their S9 knife sharpening attachment (page 2). I grind a rough bevel at 14 degrees on each side using an 80 grit blue zirconia belt. It doesn't take much, I use a light touch and stop as soon as there is a bit of wire edge. Then I tilt the guide up a couple of degrees (there's a bit of slop in the channel, I just loosen the clamping bolt, tip it up and re-tighten) and hone with a 320 grit aluminum oxide belt which I have used for other things (like obtaining the initial 14 degree bevel) until my guess is that it's about 600-700 grit, very fine anyways. Then I strop it on a scrap of Carhaarts jeans, back and forth a few times just to remove any tiny tiny bits of wire edge. At that point a 42S will just fall right down through a piece of newspaper by it's own weight, sharp enough for me and my customers, and it only takes about a minute per knife. This tool is also great for axes, machetes, lawn mower blades and general grinding/polishing (with the worn 320). You can also get an assortment of attachments for it which will make it more useful. You can also get extremely fine belts but they break pretty readily. The people are a pleasure to deal with. Lee Valley sells the tool but they don't offer the knife guide, which you really should have. Get 2 knife guides so you have a spare when it gets worn out, which probably won't happen in your lifetime. You can get diamond belts for this tool, good for ceramic knives and router bits (grind the flat face, not the profile). I wouldn't want to live without this grinder.

    http://www.vieltools.com/prod.php?s=OQ==&sc=Mw==

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    Default Re: recommendation for kitchen knife steel

    Quote Originally Posted by leaotis View Post
    I want to buy a vegetable chopping knife for my wife that I can easily keep sharp.

    I know I don't want stainless steel because it's so hard.

    Will any mild steel blade do?

    Oh, and how about sharpening? I use a small diamond stone and Crock Sticks currently.

    Thanks, Mack
    Chopping knife ?... you want a good piece of thickish carbon steel and if you're lucky you will have an old pre tungsten tip saw blade on the wall in the workshop. If you do and can cut the shape you have in mind from it, that will do nicely.

    If not look for a suitable blade amongst the garden blades in the hardware store . Here you can buy a "banana knife " , something I wouldn't expect to see in your stores ! But the blade is just under 2.5mm thick and excellent carbon steel.... they hold an edge very well.



    The next thing is to google DIY knife making and have fun !
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  13. #13
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    Default Re: recommendation for kitchen knife steel

    Like this....



    I greased and wrapped that knife in plastic and eventually got it home.... only to have my wife tell me she didn't want it in the kitchen

    I get the feeling she'd say the same thing about these Citadel knives



    Carpe the living sh!t out of the Diem

    I'd rather look back at my life and say "I can't believe I did that" instead of being there saying "I wish I'd done that"

  14. #14
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    Default Re: recommendation for kitchen knife steel

    I find this to be a great all round kitchen knife.
    Big enough for large jobs and small and nimble enough for little bits.

    http://www.metrokitchen.com/product/HK-30070-203
    ************************************************** ***

    Zwilling JA Henckels Four Star II 8 inch carving knife builds on the original design of the Four Star carver. Its handle of this carving knife is a bit heavier, giving you extra power to carve larger roasts, such as a tenderloin. As with all Henckels knives, it is backed by a lifetime warranty.
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  15. #15
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    Default Re: recommendation for kitchen knife steel

    http://www.globalknives.com.au/products-knives-g-series

    I've had a Global knife for about 15 years now. Still happy with it. Two things though, it's single bevel and the heel is sharp unlike European knives......don't give it to guests to use....bit bitey.
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  16. #16
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    Default Re: recommendation for kitchen knife steel

    Reading the other suggestions I realise I'm a primitive ! I want to start with an old saw blade and an angle grinder !
    Try to work out what the marketing guy wants you to do then do precisely the opposite.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: recommendation for kitchen knife steel

    Your way is good too.
    We don't know how lucky we are....

  18. #18
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    Default Re: recommendation for kitchen knife steel

    Quote Originally Posted by PeterSibley View Post
    Reading the other suggestions I realise I'm a primitive ! I want to start with an old saw blade and an angle grinder !

    Peter - take a look at these photos - these guys are in Cambodia, doing it your way

    http://imgur.com/a/WfMuP
    Carpe the living sh!t out of the Diem

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    Default Re: recommendation for kitchen knife steel

    The how & why of the chinese cleaver. I bought my one-piece carbon-steel 'choy doh' at a chinese-restaurant-supply place 35 years ago. Wicked sharp, holds an edge forever & replaces a drawer-full of other knives.

    Why a cleaver

    before you buy a cleaver
    Old Ways Work

    "Just why should we go back? The main reason is, old ways and materials work, are for the most part readily available, not expensive as things go now, usually are nontoxic (some may be even somewhat digestible!), are easy to use and are a satisfaction to work with -- something which is not always so when using some packaged thing out of a spray can."

    ~ Cap'n R. D. "Pete" Culler

  20. #20
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    Default Re: recommendation for kitchen knife steel

    The stainless V carbon steel argument is old hat - either can do the job and a bad knife can be made from any steel.

    The only carbon steel knife left in my kitchen is a Chinese cleaver - which I've had since 1983 - fine tool but many find them intimidating.

    Latest addition is a ceramic blade - my christmas pressie - which I'm looking forward to trying.

    Giant PITA - any knife which will balance on its back with the edge facing upwards - anything that does that trick goes in the bin
    Even when they work, they don't work well. I blame engineers.
    The only thing engineers have done to the toaster in the last 80 years is make it disposable. I think it applies to a lot of things

  21. #21
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    Default Re: recommendation for kitchen knife steel

    Specifying "Stainless" is kind of a misnomer in modern times. One of the most underrated being 440c. Many knives use 440 A or B, which is inferior to C and ends up giving stainless a bad rep. Some use 420, which is worse yet. If it is not marked 440"c", it will indeed be the lesser quality versions outside of exotic alloys, which I don't find really being worth the extra high cost.

    I have a 14 dollar stainless Faberware santoku pattern that I bought because I had teenage sons at home. Every knife is a utility knife in that environment. Oddly enough, once sharpened properly, it lasts through quite a few meals before needing touched up and will cut through a loaf of fresh baked bread without distorting the loaf.

    I currently own kitchen knives from Henkels, Dexter-Russel, Forschner and Kershaw and they all work rather well as maintained.

    I just ordered some o1 tool steel to make a chef knife, and a skinning knife for someone else, which as of late, I am getting rid of them as fast as I can make them once people find out how tough they are. That was not my plan to perpetually make knives in my off time, but I reckon there is worse things one could do.

    Here's two in the works from o1 steel. The top one I am keeping. The bottom one just came out of heat treating/tempering and I have just started sanding on it for someone who wanted a zero (that bevel is the actual edge) edge bevel utility knife with fancy file work on the tang that will be sandwiched between buckeye burl scales. After working it from an annealed state, to it's hardened, and then having put an edge on it, it is my favorite of the carbon steels I have used. It's a relatively cheap (files and sandpaper) hobby and I may eventually end up with a really nice set of kitchen knives, which is what I initially set out to do.



    Sorry for the thread drift, but if you want carbon steel knives, they can be made for pennies on the dollar, as nice, or nicer than you can buy, and certainly not out of skill range for someone who could build a nice sharpie sailboat.

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    Default Re: recommendation for kitchen knife steel

    Always liked the Global design, but how is the balance?
    Gerard>
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    Default Re: recommendation for kitchen knife steel

    I like the Warther knives, but am not a pro chef or sharpener -




    http://www.warthercutlery.com/how-a-...knife-is-made/
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    Default Re: recommendation for kitchen knife steel

    Next time you do a turkey don a pair of dishwashing gloves and tear it apart into chunks. Put the stuffing in one bowl, white meat in another, dark meat in another and all of the scraps and bones in a big pot for simmering into turkey broth/soup base. The big chunks will stay hot longer, they won't dry out within seconds of the time they are thin sliced and there's no carcass to deal with when your done. That whole thin slicing thing is for the birds.

  25. #25

    Default Re: recommendation for kitchen knife steel

    Years ago, I bought a santuko (?) -shaped $25 knife at an Asian grocery with nice wood handle, not too heavy or blunt so it can be used to poke into veggies and fruits and extract certain things, I no longer bother with paring knives. The blade is supposed to be HC steel inside stainless layers. I keep sheets of automotive wet/dry in a kitchen drawer, and when it needs sharpening I wet a sheet of 600 and sharpen it right on the countertop. I then do 1000 or jump to some very fine machinist's cloth if it feels like it came along nicely with the 600. I use this same method with a Cuisinart stainless blade, t just takes longer and is fussier. I strop on whatever rag is handy. Hand-wash and dry carefully and it stays good for a while.

    If I was going to spend on a kitchen knife I'd get artisan-made folded steel from Japan. The equivalent of a wooden boat, knife-wise.

  26. #26
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    Default Re: recommendation for kitchen knife steel

    Quote Originally Posted by Mrleft8 View Post
    Stainless steel knives are for..............
    Get good carbon steel knives and dry them after you wash them. Like good cast iron frying pans or a good carbon steel or cast iron wok, once you season them, they are almost maintenance free.
    And any stainless knife that's easy to sharpen will go dull cutting a grape. I have a set of stainless steel knives I keep in the kitchen so other people won't use my good knives.
    Double ditto to this and Jay's comment. I have a beautiful collection of old high carbon steel chef's knives and a cleaver, all razor sharp and easy to keep that way. They are a joy to use. Nobody else touches them. The "lady of the house" will only use her dull, abused, stainless Heinkels crap "because I don't like sharp knives... they're dangerous." Fine by me!

  27. #27
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    Default Re: recommendation for kitchen knife steel

    My best knife was found as a blade under an old house I was repairing . It got a new rosewood handle and copper rivets .

    It can be sharpened to a razor's edge and it will hold that edge too..
    Try to work out what the marketing guy wants you to do then do precisely the opposite.

  28. #28
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    Default Re: recommendation for kitchen knife steel

    Quote Originally Posted by seedy View Post

    If I was going to spend on a kitchen knife I'd get artisan-made folded steel from Japan. The equivalent of a wooden boat, knife-wise.
    you don't have to go to japan. . .

    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

  29. #29
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    Default Re: recommendation for kitchen knife steel

    Quote Originally Posted by Gerarddm View Post
    Always liked the Global design, but how is the balance?
    Weird, I've been using it for so long I had to go and check. It feels handle heavy.....but it isn't.....and it has a curved blade so it 'rockers' really well.
    We don't know how lucky we are....

  30. #30
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    Default Re: recommendation for kitchen knife steel

    Paul, your video isn't available in my country.



    Aussie chicks, they always embrace the local culture.
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    Default Re: recommendation for kitchen knife steel

    We don't know how lucky we are....

  32. #32
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    Default Re: recommendation for kitchen knife steel

    Feel like shouting this bloke some new filters for his mask but it's a good little vid.



    I believe sitting outside in the snow staring into the campfire is optional.
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    Default Re: recommendation for kitchen knife steel

    Interesting word on his belt sander. I wouldn't google it at work
    Carpe the living sh!t out of the Diem

    I'd rather look back at my life and say "I can't believe I did that" instead of being there saying "I wish I'd done that"

  34. #34
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    Default Re: recommendation for kitchen knife steel

    What every kitchen needs, a waterstone.

    We don't know how lucky we are....

  35. #35
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    Default Re: recommendation for kitchen knife steel

    I'm just getting carried away now..........

    We don't know how lucky we are....

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    Default Re: recommendation for kitchen knife steel

    Quote Originally Posted by seanz View Post
    I love that trip hammer !
    Try to work out what the marketing guy wants you to do then do precisely the opposite.

  37. #37
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    Default Re: recommendation for kitchen knife steel

    I think I'd have been quite happy knifemaking but I really didn't know how to sell them, all my retail contacts were in wood and knives didn't quite fit .
    Try to work out what the marketing guy wants you to do then do precisely the opposite.

  38. #38
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    Default Re: recommendation for kitchen knife steel

    Quote Originally Posted by PeterSibley View Post
    I think I'd have been quite happy knifemaking but I really didn't know how to sell them, all my retail contacts were in wood and knives didn't quite fit .
    I like making them but I am sure I wouldn't if my living depended on it. In my current situation, I am aiming to own quality 'personal' cutting tools. As it turns out, there are a lot of people who are tired of dealing with stainless steel. There are really no stainless cutting edges in heavy industry to speak of. The best wood chisels, planer knives, chippers or what have you, are either high carbon steel or some exotic derivitive.

    So I made a low profile dovetail chisel to practice with so that I didn't have to break the bank to make some dovetails. Some woodworker dork had to have it and I no longer have a dovetail chisel. He's been working primarily with maple and cherry and swears it's the best thing he's used as of late. So now he wants a 1/4 and a 1/2" from the "exact same metal."

    A lot of people are making knives these days, which I had no idea, really, but nobody that I know is, so I'm it. If you are primarily associated with woodworkers, make wood cutting tools. "Sibley" sounds like a good brand name that would fit that niche. My last name is "Sykes", and it never even occurred to me that there would be some subliminal association with some past history of such things, but I get asked if I am any relation to a same name that was associated to a well known blade. When I told my mom what I was doing, she reminded me that I was always drawing doodles of knives and axes with great detail when I was a boy.

    We have a weekend of rain in the forecast thru Monday. I am glad that I have this to do.

  39. #39
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    Default Re: recommendation for kitchen knife steel

    Rodale Press put out a pretty good book on basic knife making in a style I like, carbon steel only and mainly kitchen knives . A really good section on acid etching .
    Try to work out what the marketing guy wants you to do then do precisely the opposite.

  40. #40
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    Default Re: recommendation for kitchen knife steel

    power hacksaw blades chucked out after their life is over... for nothing, excellent carbon steel, I have a couple of leather paring knives from my bookbinding training days and they are still the best. better than any shop bought....I've often toyed with using them to make kitchen knives , but thankfully there are still plenty of carbon steel knives around v cheap....it makes the flea market hunt even more enjoyable!

    Interesting that 'er indoors only wants ss knives... can't be bothered with them needing care and attention, wants dishwasher proof and also claims they impart a taste to diced onion, leeks peppers, citrus fruits...... Fine, I have mine, she has hers. I actually find it very relaxing every now and then sitting down with an arkansa stone and some teak oil, sharpening, tightening up the rivets, oiling the wood.
    While the fascination outweighs the fear I sail on.

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  41. #41
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    Default Re: recommendation for kitchen knife steel

    A Knife steel does NOT sharpen a knife, it can damage one if not used properly.

    When we use a whetstone to sharpen a knife, what we're doing is reshaping its cutting edge by grinding away tiny amounts of the blade. And while it's the best way to sharpen a knife, all that grinding can leave the knife's edge rough and uneven. Using a knife steel, also called a sharpening steel or honing steel, helps smooth out that roughness, leaving a nice, straight edge.

    Take a trip to the local mall or even to a butcher shop and talk to people who use knifes for a living and see what they are using and why, then talk with someone that sharens knifes and find out how to care for them.

    Carbon steel or stainless knives have both good and bad points, I have both kinds of knifes and they where picked for the need to which they are put. There is no single all-around knife, remember that you are working with a "sharp" edge, keep it sharp, and use the proper tool for the job.
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  42. #42
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    Default Re: recommendation for kitchen knife steel

    Here is a good kitchen knife from Lee Valley for $30.
    http://www.leevalley.com/en/gifts/pa...104,64483&ap=2
    I have 4 of them. The first 3 are the untreated beech handles, the handle did fall apart, but I can make a new one. The other 3 I've never used.

    This is how to sharpen it.
    http://www.leevalley.com/en/shopping...s.aspx?p=51597
    basil

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    Default Re: recommendation for kitchen knife steel

    I mentioned earlier in this thread that I was going to visit Citadel Knives in Phnom Penh. I did... and bought three



    The top two are stainless blades, the bottom one is high carbon steel.

    I've only used the top one so far, eating dinner tonight. Its a steak knife, with a nicely engraved blade at the index finger position and some Damascus steel on the handle. With its sheath, it was about $190 - a lot of money for a knife in Asia, but it really is top notch. It felt like I was using a scalpel, cutting my steak and vegies tonight.
    Carpe the living sh!t out of the Diem

    I'd rather look back at my life and say "I can't believe I did that" instead of being there saying "I wish I'd done that"

  44. #44
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    New Zealand's Far North
    Posts
    5,802

    Default Re: recommendation for kitchen knife steel

    What is the middle one?
    There is nothing quite as permanent as a good temporary repair.

  45. #45
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Dooral Dooral, Eastern Oz
    Posts
    37,324

    Default Re: recommendation for kitchen knife steel

    Little trimming knife. Haven't used it yet.
    Carpe the living sh!t out of the Diem

    I'd rather look back at my life and say "I can't believe I did that" instead of being there saying "I wish I'd done that"

  46. #46
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    East Quogue,NY
    Posts
    6,958

    Default Re: recommendation for kitchen knife steel

    There are ceramic knives available nowadays. They take and hold a hell of an edge and they're more durable than I expected they would be. You need diamonds to sharpen them though.
    FWIW--was gifted a ceramic slicer last year. Very sharp. Held its edge "forever." One was supposed to send it back to its maker for sharpening, if that ever needed doing. Mine was dropped on a tile floor and the blade broke. Not that one should ever drop a knife, but just know that a ceramic may be brittle compared to steel of any sort.

    Kevin
    There are two kinds of boaters: those who have run aground, and those who lie about it.

  47. #47
    Join Date
    Feb 2000
    Location
    The land of reefs
    Posts
    32,865

    Default Re: recommendation for kitchen knife steel

    Quote Originally Posted by goodbasil View Post
    Here is a good kitchen knife from Lee Valley for $30.
    http://www.leevalley.com/en/gifts/pa...104,64483&ap=2
    I have 4 of them. The first 3 are the untreated beech handles, the handle did fall apart, but I can make a new one. The other 3 I've never used.

    This is how to sharpen it.
    http://www.leevalley.com/en/shopping...s.aspx?p=51597
    Got one of these for Carter's sister for Christmas.
    So excellent that I will be getting one for us in the next month or so.
    http://www.leevalley.com/en/gifts/pa...104,64483&ap=2

  48. #48
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Nova Scotia
    Posts
    150

    Default Re: recommendation for kitchen knife steel

    I have several knives from these guy's. Very happy with them.

    http://www.grohmannknives.com/

  49. #49
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Melbourne Australia
    Posts
    416

    Default Re: recommendation for kitchen knife steel

    Thanks for the discussion. I got my wife a 6" Calphalon and the "Peasant's Chef's" knife from Lee Valley. She uses the Calphalon for cutting up meat/chickens. The the lighter weigh Peasant's knife gets used daily for veggies. I give the knives a few strokes on a 1200 grit water stone once a week.

    Thanks, Mack
    =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

    The study of history is a powerful antidote to contemporary arrogance.



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