German Profile Knives

Discussion in 'Cooking Knife Reviews' started by chefboy2160, Jun 4, 2012.

  1. chefboy2160

    chefboy2160

    Messages:
    818
    Likes Received:
    15
    Exp:
    Retired Chef
    I would like to know if there is a company that make semi quality knives for the kitchen staff (which are famouse for knife abuse) which does not have the german profile but has a more French or Japanese style belly. All of the Knives I see from Sysco are the same german profile knives and I think a lot of my staff would be better off learning knife skills and board management from a what we used to call a French knife. This week I am throwing out about 15 bent tipped bread/serrated/Chefs knive and boning as well as the parers. So any idea on someone who sells

    staff knives which are better profiled than the usual stuff? Thanks,Doug........
     
  2. johnr

    johnr

    Messages:
    61
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Former Chef
  3. jimbo68

    jimbo68

    Messages:
    104
    Likes Received:
    11
    Exp:
    Home Chef
    Forschner are always a good choice.
     
  4. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

    Messages:
    8,551
    Likes Received:
    193
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    Forschners are very much German profile; and the OP said he was trying to get away from that.

    You're pretty much looking at the Kai 4000ST, the MAC Original, and the slightly more expensive Richmond Artifex. I've only had real experience with the MACs -- which are good knives for the price. The Kai 4000ST line has something of a bad rep for issues related to the blade alloy (AUS 8 ranges from good to awful depending on a lot of things). The Artifex is developing a reputation as punching way above its weight -- but I've never actually tried one.

    IMO, the other entry level knives, the Fujiwara FKM and Tojiro DP don't provide enough extra performance to make up for their much higher prices as "house" line knives. I'd go with the Artifex.

    OTOH, that recommendation may put the cart before the horse. What are your plans regarding maintenance and sharpening?

    BDL
     
  5. duckfat

    duckfat

    Messages:
    1,354
    Likes Received:
    24
    Exp:
    Retired Chef
     If you start buying staff knives in the price range of Macs or higher your tools will be walking out the door faster than you can replace them. Forschner is a nice step up from some of the stuff that Sysco carries. I'd focus more on price point and quality than profile.

    Dave
     
  6. chefboy2160

    chefboy2160

    Messages:
    818
    Likes Received:
    15
    Exp:
    Retired Chef
    This is a pretty small place with maybe 225  to 250 meals a day and its a small country town. The staff are very local so I do not think theft would be much of an issue compared to a larger city and more transient help or a larger kitchen.I have a couple of cooks with crappy knife skills and would like to pass on the little knowledge I have as far as knife use and maintenence! My concern is I have never used a synthetic waterstone and am kind of humbled by what I have read especially about flattening them as the stone itself requires maintenence. I have used for years a set up like BDLs old one which consists of Norton medium/fine oilstone as well as a soft/hard and surgical black arkansas (Halls) for my finishers. These have worked great on my euro knives but I did purchase a Tojiro DP Chefs knife about 7 years ago and for one it was not comfortable to use maybe because it was so light or for me I think it was the handle and grip but I just did not want to attempt to try to sharpen the thing on the slower cutting arkansas stones. Now dont get me wrong as these stone are totaly fine for my Forschners/Sabs/FDicks and Dexters but when it comes to the harder steel I am still humbled. How much of a learning curve is there between oil stones

    (which I use dry) and useing and maintaining a waterstone? I would like to give the cooks a more modern lesson than taking them back to my dark ages and also giving them and myself some better tools. I am looking at the Mac and I can get away with perhaps 3 to 4 from there line for the staff as they seem the best bang for the buck. Thanks for your help! Doug...

     
  7. foodpump

    foodpump

    Messages:
    4,865
    Likes Received:
    436
    Exp:
    Professional Pastry Chef
    Many cooks learned to master knife skills with Forschners, and many still do, as it is still one of the most popular choices for student's knife kits in culinary schools all over N. America.

    I don't know how many times I've said this, but ,   A knife is just a hunk of  steel with a sharp edge, the magic is in the user's hands.

    Upgrading to a J knife or harder steels won't improve knife skills, practice, lots of practice will.

    Keep the boning knives, as far as I know, there isn't a Japanese equivalent, and softer steels are better for boning knives, as they get knocked around bones a lot.

    Keep the paring knives, these are "front line" knives, a strawberry won't know the difference what kind of knife cut's it's top off, neither does a potato.  These are the knives that get used to open boxes and tend to get thrown out with vegetable trimmings in the garbage--keep the knives until they are used up and I guarantee you will replace them with the same or cheaper quality knife.
     
  8. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

    Messages:
    8,551
    Likes Received:
    193
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    +1 to Foodpump with one niggle and one addition. 

    Niggle:  If you're more comfortable with a French than a German profile, go for French.  While a French profile won't magically confer skillz, there are some constants.  German profiles are more powerful, and work better for people who don't keep their knives really sharp.  French profiles are lighter (everything else being equal), more agile, and more rewarding to sharp edges and better knife skills. 

    Also, Forschner chef's knives take a LOT of steeling to maintain their edge through a busy shift.  While I agree with every word Pump said about Forschner chef's, I still don't like them very much.  Soft blade alloys which constantly go out of true is almost universally true about German profiled  knives in general.  Offhand, the only exception is Messermeister (expensive). 

    Addition:  If anything, Pump underplayed the amount of abuse short knives see.  So if, as an exec or operator, you're purchasing paring knives for the entire line, you might want to consider buying serrated Forschners by the case.  The serrated edges will give you good service for long enough that it's a lot cheaper to use them til they die then throw them away than it is to use employee time or a service to resharpen a "better" fine edged knife.  Disposable economics might be true of the $5 fine edged Fibrox Forschners as well. 

    In terms of just plain agreement about meat knives like breakers, boners, cimeters, etc.  Forschner manages to be the professional "gold standard," and is also extremely affordable.  What more do you want? 

    BDL
     
  9. knifesavers

    knifesavers

    Messages:
    200
    Likes Received:
    19
    Exp:
    Other
    Since you know sharpening the biggest surprise for me with water vs oilstones was the mess. Waterstones make a filthy mess by comparison. WAtch videos and most folks use them over a sink or like Jon at Japanese Knife Imports on some container to capture the mud and swarf.

    Get a glass board as your flat surface and some drywall screen to flatten the stones or any of the various lapping products available.

    I've been using/abusing the $70 diamond flattening plate from JKI and it is less fuss than screen and glass.

    Jim
     
  10. chefboy2160

    chefboy2160

    Messages:
    818
    Likes Received:
    15
    Exp:
    Retired Chef
    Yeah you are all right to some degree. I have 2 good cooks who are older and just plain abuse house knives so the forschners are the way to go and yes a case of serrated does seem appropiate! However I do have one young cook who is wanting to apprentice a bit with me and this young man (24) has a wonderful work ethic and takes pride in his work so it is to him and myself who are the ones to be delving into the french profile and harder steel! I have let him use my old sab and he just loves it but of course these are not made anymore and I would like to get him bit by the better knife bug (as well as myself as my first venture with the Tojiro was not so user friendly). I am thinking along the lines of perhaps 1 KAI , 1 Mac and perhaps another Japenese knife to whet our teeth on and of course a set of waterstones (which I know nothing about) and a flattener for maintenence. Any suggestions on knives and stones ? Thanks, Doug..........
     
  11. greenguy

    greenguy

    Messages:
    64
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Line Cook
    You can still find carbon Sabatier knives.  The two best brands are K Sabatier, which you can find at sabatieroutlet.com and is pretty reasonably priced, and Thiers Issard Four Star Elephant Sabatier from thebestthings.com, but they are a bit pricier.  Four star also also has a Nogent line which is what I guess would be the original classic design with wooden nogent style handles and, of course, carbon steel.  This line is made from all pre-war forgings, which is pretty cool.  I just ordered a Nogent 9 inch flexible fillet knife today and am really excited to try it out when I get it, I've never had a carbon knife before, and I've been searching for a long time for an 8-10" carbon flex fillet knife.  And also, I second the Forschners for house knives, can't beat 'em for the price.
     
  12. chefboy2160

    chefboy2160

    Messages:
    818
    Likes Received:
    15
    Exp:
    Retired Chef
    Yea I picked up quite a few of the 4 star elephants from pre war forged blades and that filet knife will impress you. The Handles on mine seem to have been a poor after thought but the steel is quite good. I will check out the sabs online and see what looks good but it would be hard pressed to keep up with my very old sab I have now. Thanks, Doug........
     
  13. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

    Messages:
    8,551
    Likes Received:
    193
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    Don't be confused by the logo.  Quatre Etoile (what you're calling "Four Star") and Elephant were two separate Sabatier marques which never exited as one before each was  purchased by Thiers-Issard at separate times who then united their respective symbols on their own (T-I) knives.  So calling the Nogents "Four-Star Elephant" is something of a misnomer. 

    T-I claims that the identity or identities of the makers which actually manufactured the pre-war forgings is or are lost.   I'm pretty sure that neither Quatre Etoile or Elephant supplied many -- if any -- of the blades.  

    The T-I Nogents have exactly the same type of ebony handle that this style of knife always had.  What don't you like about the handles?  What kind of handle would you prefer on the tang?  

    BDL 
     
  14. chefboy2160

    chefboy2160

    Messages:
    818
    Likes Received:
    15
    Exp:
    Retired Chef
    The Knife with the poor handles are the are T-Is with a 4 star and an elephant on them and they are 9 inch slicers. These handles are different in that they are wooden and have outset rivets which protrude from the handle and the full tang sticks out from the wood in different places on each knife. Now the steel itself is thin and hard and holds a great edge but like I mentioned the handle is less than the Nogents which I have no problemo with. I purchased 4 of these slicers at the time and all of the handles were similar. I hope this clarifies things........
     
  15. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

    Messages:
    8,551
    Likes Received:
    193
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    ALL T-I knives made and/or sold since 1958 have both the Quatre Etoile and Elephant logos screened on the blades -- so their presence doesn't mean much by way of identification.

    In re those bad "full-tang" handles, it sounds like the scales shrunk as a result of poor storage which allowed humidity and temp changes to work their evil.  Where did you get them?  The Best Things?  If it's not too late, return them. 

    If it is:

    (1) Sometimes shrunken wooden handles can be restored by soaking them in mineral oil for a couple of days, then daily, then weekly oil rubbing until the handles are fully stabilized.  However, beyond a certain level of cruddiness, you're SOL with restoration;

    (2) There are people who do handle repair and replacement, but the service doesn't cheap.  If you're interested in having it done, I'd start asking around the various kitchen knife forums to find something inexpensive enough to suit what aren't terribly expensive knives to begin with; or,

    (3)  SOL.  Fuhgeddaboudid.

    BDL
     
  16. foodpump

    foodpump

    Messages:
    4,865
    Likes Received:
    436
    Exp:
    Professional Pastry Chef
    I've rehandled a few knives as well as a few favorite spatulas, it's fairly easy to do

    Drill out the existing rivets, these are copper and butter-soft.

    Choose a durable wood.  A neighbor tossed out a teak patio table a few years back and I scored about 20 bdft of teak. White oak, beech or maple will work as well.  Shape the handle to your liking. Use to old handle side (called scales) as a drilling pattern.

    Lee Valley (www.leevalley.com) sells copper rivets.  These are two piece, one resembling a nail, the other with a hollow shaft.  Basically you pound the two together and squish them into one solid rivet.
     
  17. chefboy2160

    chefboy2160

    Messages:
    818
    Likes Received:
    15
    Exp:
    Retired Chef
    Dang Foodpump, you gotta be an owner/operator with some major skills. Ill bet you do a lot of your own repair work also/img/vbsmilies/smilies/biggrin.gif. I think first I will try BDLs soak in mineral oil on the two remaining Sab Slicers but if that does not work we shall be looking at your re-handle application as the steel on these blades is quite nice!

    Thanks for all the tips! Doug...............
     
  18. knifesavers

    knifesavers

    Messages:
    200
    Likes Received:
    19
    Exp:
    Other
    M/O can work some wonders on dried wood. I'll post a pic of the pile of old Chicago Cutlery and similar knives that have been under treatment since Sunday.

    I scrub the wood clean, wipe the water off, blow it out of the gaps, and air dry overnight before treating. Seems to work better that way.

    Jim
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2012
  19. chefboy2160

    chefboy2160

    Messages:
    818
    Likes Received:
    15
    Exp:
    Retired Chef
    You bet Id be interested in seeing those pics! Thanks,Doug...
     
  20. knifesavers

    knifesavers

    Messages:
    200
    Likes Received:
    19
    Exp:
    Other
    I didn't get a shot of the current batch but here is a before and after of one batch a few months ago...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Once the current batch is finished I'l get a group after shot.

    Jim