Best chef knives money can buy and where to purchase??

Discussion in 'Cooking Knife Reviews' started by johntavener09, Apr 16, 2011.

  1. johntavener09

    johntavener09

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    Im interested in purchasing a close friend some very high quality chef knives and money is no object

    Im wondering if you can help me out by recommending the absolute best chef knives and where they can be purchased?

    Thanks alot, Any and all responses will be appreciated
     
    fery archer likes this.
  2. nullifygirls

    nullifygirls

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    The only good knife is a sharp knife!
     
  3. butzy

    butzy

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    Very true...

    @johntaverner09:

    It's also very difficult to recommend a knife based on above info.

    What's the knife gonna be used for?

    What steel are you (or the person you are giving the knife to) looking for?

    What profile?

    If you give some more info, maybe we can help a bit better?
     
  4. foodpump

    foodpump

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    Both of the above answers are excellent advice.

    If you were to ask a wine expert what the absolute, overall "best" wine was, they would tell you no such thing  exists.  There are many excellent wines, each with their own unique qualities and taste.

    So it is with knives.

    What I tell all of my employees is that there is no magic in a knife.  It's just a hunk of steel with a sharp edge, the magic is in the user's hands.

    There is no sense in buying an excellent, expenisve knife for your friend if that person does not know how to sharpen it properly, or have access to someone who can.  All knives will need sharpening, and the cheap-o ones that claim you don't have to, are just hacksaw blades in a handle.

    Knives are also  a bit like shoes, either they fit you--your hands and style-- or they don't.  You need a bit of knowledge and experience when picking out expensive knives.

    I hope this helps somewhat
     
  5. capsaicin

    capsaicin

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    While all of the above is true, I believe that most knife enthusiasts will also agree that, *if* money was no object, they would own at least one high grade Japanese Honyaki knife.  Honyaki is the process of hand tempering and quenching that was originally used to make samurai swords, and results in steels with HRCs of 65-68 (typical Wusthof/good Henckels is about 58).

    This extraordinary hardness allows an expert to grind edges with incredibly steep angles onto it.  The best Honyaki knives carry the Hamon -- the tempering line -- denoting the differentiation of the edge metal (ha-gane) from the support metal (ji-gane) resulting from differentiated tempering, where the edge metal is quenched and tempered more quickly than the support metal.

    They will be very hard to sharpen, and aside from the sharpness, it takes the right abrasive and some skill to polish the blade in such a way as to show off the Hamon.  However, if money is truly no object, you could always get it professionally sharpened and polished by someone who is skilled in handling the highest grade Japanese blades, even if you have to ship it to them and back each time.

    They will also be hard to care for in other ways -- Honyaki is typically carbon steel which will rust if not taken care of the right way (though there are some stainless Honyakis out there too, be sure you are aware of this before buying -- a good Honyaki knife can cost in the thousands per knife and it would just be a damned crying shame for such a work of art to rust in a block if the person using it did not realize this).  The extreme high hardness means that it will be more prone to chipping if used roughly or hitting bone, and may even have big chunks broken out of it like a plate rim if it is dropped.  If your friend just wanted a good sharp knife that is pretty to look at, he/she might prefer a stainless damascus pattern knife of 60-62 HRC instead.  Or perhaps even have one of the many dedicated and skilled knife craftsmen in America make a custom set -- look at knife seller sites like chefknivestogo.com and browse the "knife brands" to see a listing of some of these people who have dedicated themselves to making beautiful and highly functional knives.

    To look up where to purchase one -- just google the term "Honyaki" and you'll see many high end knife vendor sites carry them.  If you ask around on forums like this one, someone can also direct you to Japanese smiths, some of whom would also be willing to custom make knives to order.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2011
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  6. iceman

    iceman

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    LOL. I absolutely love the "money is no object" frame of mind. I couple of months ago a fine member of this community, Trooper, gave me some examples of very affordable "laser" knives. I won't at all call them "beginner" or "entry level" knives. I found them to be fantastic examples of what I should and will get when I buy anything new; ex: 180 Santoku $77, 240 Gyuto $93. Yeah, you all know that there are much more expensive and possibly better quality knives. Now just for a second maybe think about this. Would someone who would/could appreciate this level of equipment actually need, have or want someone else to get it for them? For that kinda coin I want to pick out my own stuff. Get me a gift card. 

    http://www.japanesechefsknife.com/KAGAYAKI.html

    http://www.japanesechefsknife.com/FKHSeries.html

    http://www.japanesechefsknife.com/HKSSeries.html
     
  7. capsaicin

    capsaicin

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     Sure is nice to spend money that is not yours in your head ain't it.  It's why people buy lottery tickets. :D
     
  8. tapslog21

    tapslog21

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    One word. KRAMER! :D
     
  9. chef7734

    chef7734

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    [quote name="tapslog21" url="/forum/thread/65228/best-chef-knives-money-can-buy-and-where-to-purchase#post_350481"]
    One word. KRAMER! :D
    [/quote]
    I don't think so. I would take many others over a kramer like Murray carter, hattori, and a few others.

    Sent from my thunderbolt using tapatalk pro.
     
  10. hitchedgibson

    hitchedgibson

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    I just laugh when I see any discussion about knives. Not at the OP, just in general. I got a kiwi brand knife from my local Asian market for $3 and it is my favorite knife I've used.
     
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  11. maat922

    maat922

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    I agree.  When I was a kid I used to spend ridiculous money on the latest and greatest, but after 22 years in the business I've found that I've beaten the snot out of more Victorinox/Mundial/Dexter-Russell generic 10" Chef knives than anything else, and they just take the beating and then re-take an edge without a fight.  Not to mention, they're NEVER forged (lol), so they're actually lighter knives.  When you're cooking all day long with a knife as your main implement of destruction, the non-forged, cheap, lightweight knives with the big ugly nylon grips are SO much more forgiving than the mega-bucks knives.

    I remember buying my first expensive knife.  It was made by a little old Japanese man in his backyard forge.  AWESOME to look at, held an edge like crazy, had a 550-braided paracord handle, superbly balanced, weighed a TON.  And you noticed it 3-hours into your shift.  $375 that looks and performs amazingly, but sits in my home kitchen drawer.  Hell, even at home I wind up grabbing an old beat up Forschner chef's knife for 90% of the jobs I do here.  It was probably $25 new, and it's probably worth about $5 on the garage sale table now, but I just simply use it too often to sell it.

    You don't have to spend a lot of money on knives to get something completely usable and awesome.

    If you're looking for a status symbol, just throw the highest amount of money possible to the boutique-iest little so-and-so from whatever country who is handcrafting artwork in his backyard forge.  You won't use them any more than a cheap set of industrial-grade stain-free Dexter-Russells. 

    The expensive knives are designed to work flawlessly. The cheap knives are designed to work their asses off.

    That being said, just get something with "NSF" etched into the side of the blade, chances are the recipient will be very well-served.

     
     
  12. rick alan

    rick alan

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    I'll have to chime in here.  My Randall Bowie #1-8 is 30yrs old and I actually sharpened it once (oh horrors! say the collectors), but I think there are still buyers out there for 3 or more times what I paid for it.  Money being no object, get the Carter.  His knives are still "relatively" affordable, and will very likely be escalating in price, much like Kramer's.

    Rick
     
  13. rick alan

    rick alan

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    Oh brother, I should check dates before commenting
     
  14. kvonnj

    kvonnj

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    Got me a 10" Forschner that I wouldn't trade for much of nything. It ain't pretty, it ain't fancy, it ain't handmade by a hundred year old Tibetan yak herder over a campfire and it's got a wooden handle so beat up and stained it looks as if it's black plastic with finger grips... but it's my baby, 
     
  15. kvonnj

    kvonnj

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    What's the "best knife?" The one YOU want to have in YOUR hand, day in, day out, hour after hour. The rest is nothing but opinion and fluff.
     
  16. maat922

    maat922

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    LOL, this.
     
  17. tenorico

    tenorico

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    I recommend these four knife companies in order of which I think is the best

    Shun Knife Company Japan

    Wüsthof Germany

    Henckels Germany

    Robert Welch German Steel Forged in Taiwan
     
  18. tenorico

    tenorico

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    Henckels are maid in Japan as well sorry for the mistake!
     
  19. chris jeffery

    chris jeffery

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    MIYABI KAIZEN!
     
  20. rick alan

    rick alan

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    Since this post seems to have reserected itself, let me recomend you look at more recent posts on the subject of best knives, especially best knives for the money, as the ones mentioned don't fit either category so well.

    Rick