french versus german knives. sabatier. someon please enlighten me?

Joined Dec 6, 2012
as a cook I work with different knives, currently with the wusthof classic ikon 8 inch (almost never used) and a 21 inch gyuto blue paper (= carbon)steel Eden Kanso Aogami.

I use the latter most but despite that its very sharp and maintains edge well, not fully happy yet.

I use mostly pinch grip, am a woman with average (7 inch handspan pink to thumb) hands.

I have been wondering about what exactly is the difference between the german and french knives.

and what exactly is the difference between all the sabatier brands you come across? I see K sabatier, lion, diamond.

if you are from the trade and have experience with one of those what can you tell me.

sure other people are welcome too with sharing their knowledge!! 
Joined Aug 4, 2000
The bolster of my Henckels twelve inch chef's knife purchased in '76 has very sharp corners at the top that need to be rounded with an extra fine Swiss pillar file.  Sabatiers of the same era have their bolsters shaped into an oval, very rounded - and therefore more comfortable when held with the thumb and forefinger, while cutting slices of bacon off the slab.  Trust me, those upper sharp corners on the Henckels hurt following a bout of bacon slicing and leave a sharp indentation in those two fingers mentioned.
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Joined Dec 6, 2012
interesting replies, al!! thanks!

sounds like I should at least try a french knife given the descriptions it might suit me better than germans.

I do like weight BUT agility is much more important to me.

and the glide slicing style is exactly how I work mostly....hmmm.

now meanwhile I have used the search function on the board and found lots of articles about sabatier and its lines.

and the posts of BDL of course.....

and the site of K Sabatier at my side of the pond in France was interesting too, despite the bad english ;)

how come they are so affordable while we pay so much more for germans or japaneses.

should I go for carbon? I am a "sharp junkie" and sharpen my own on waterstones....

since I work in a pro environment I find myself babying my japanese knife which is also carbon.

is french carbon different? I think not?

dillbert, I'd rather not discuss my job matters here if you don't mind....I appreciate your input, feel free to PM. :) 
Joined Dec 6, 2012
benuser, hmm I think you are taking things out of perspective.

its not about my remark about pricing perse, does not matter to me.....I was just wondering that differences were so big price wise.


I already HAVE a japanese carbon, if you read my first post in this thread ...I use it at my work but disadvantage of japanese knives is that they are too fragile because of their hardness. (mine is 62 on the rockwell scale).

drop them and they chip or break.....

so, I was looking for something in a softer steel as per advice on another board and more suited for heavy duty jobs if needed eventually.

sure germans are softer steel than japs, allright, but I don't really like the german design (heavy, handle heavy , not very agile) though I work with it if needed.

not much german carbons around...

so stumbled into the french knives and then different sabatier brands and started reading, that french knives are less heavy as germans and their shape is probably more what I'd want for my cutting technique I use. (thats what I like so much in my jap, though the size is limited)

so thats how I came to french carbon, I sharpen my knives myself on waterstones and I know what I like in sharpness.... (the advantage of the japanese knives with their thin blades!)

that brought me to sabatier-k, or nogent eventually....we'll see, no hurry at all.
Joined Apr 3, 2010
In all my years I have found balance of a knife is everything.  And it depends on whose hands the knife is in.
Joined Aug 4, 2000
@Soesje:  again what I really like about my older Sabatiers is oval shaped bolster.  It feels very comfortable when grasped with my thumb and forerfinger.  Go for one and I don't think that you'll regret it other than having to use oil stones to sharpen it.
Joined Aug 4, 2000
While the modern japanese made knives look and probably perform utterly beautifully, I'd hate to think the the knife being damaged from dropping off of the countertop and I know I've dropped my Sabatiers and Henckels many times without any chipping.  Maybe the edge needed a slight touch-up with the steel but that's all there was too it.
Joined May 29, 2013
Benuser, it's all in the way the knife comes off the counter and is dependent upon chance, gravity and Newton's First Law of Motion ("A body in motion remains in motion until an external force changes that motion").  Everything is dependent on how the knife is both laterally moving as it leaves support, upon the shifting center of gravity and upon any other external forces.  There is no reason to assume that the spine or the edge, or the tip or the handle, will be the point of contact with the floor.  It's all chance which part of the knife will hit the floor first.

In the case of Kokopuffs' knife falling off his countertop (assuming that Kokopuffs' countertop has an abrupt 90 degree edge), the knife doesn't simply come off the counter and drop down flat onto the floor.  Instead, as the knife moves over the edge of the countertop, the knife remains flat along the countertop until the center of gravity of the knife passes over the edge.  At that position, the edge acts as a fulcrum point and the knife tips over, off the countertop, with the knife developing a spin.  How the spin works out is based upon whether the knife was horizontally spinning when it was on the countertop, the speed the knife was at when it went over the edge and the movable position of the center of gravity of the knife had as it left the countertop.  All of that is completely based on chance.

In the case of Kokopuffs' knife falling out of his hand directly onto the floor (Kokopuffs, take this as my making a teaching moment - I will personally give you the benefit of the doubt about your ability to hold onto the knife, but I simply want to make a point about the physics of the situation), as the knife slides out of Kokopuffs' hand, it is supported by the furthermost of Kokopuffs' fingers along the handle, until the center of gravity forces extends forward of that part of the knife supported by Kokopuffs' fingers.  At that point, the furthest forward finger acts as a fulcrum, and the knife develops a spin.

In short, it's more than likely that the knife will develop a spin.  What is strictly chance is whether the spin results in the edge impacting the floor.  What is also chance is what angle the knife will be at when it impacts the floor.

This is all from my high school physics class, which is now closing on half a century ago, so please bear with me if I've screwed something up.  Also, this is mostly off the top of my head, so as to reply as quickly as possible.

Worst case scenario is for the knife edge to be the point of impact, for the knife to impact the floor with the plane of the blade at something other than 90 degrees and for the spin of the knife to be towards rotating the edge towards the floor just before the point of impact.

This forum is celebrated for its advocacy of knives with harder steels.  That hardness comes often with the flip side that the harder steels are more prone to brittleness.  Side pressures along the edges of such knives have often been blamed for knife chips along the edges.

Kokopuffs has a legitimate concern.  

Galley Swiller
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