K Sabatier. After a few months. A short review.

Joined May 22, 2010
It's been almost 6 months now and these are, hands down, the best knives I have ever used.

Carbon steel, wooden handles.

Priced well below a "good" knife, purchased on this side of the pond, for three times the tool.

I have avoided any "dulling" of my blades through corrosion by simply using a rouge-laden leather strop before every use.

End of shift, rinse, wipe dry, put away.

A quick steeling before the first use of the day and I'm good to go. 

I cannot say enough good things about these knives. They are comfortable, light, and for me... perfect.

Old school, French steel. It makes me happy.

Dealing with the company was a joy, excellent communication. Shipping was quick and product was well packaged. I had to wait for my knives to be made and I still received them in just over a week.
Joined Jan 5, 2007
I was given a set of Sabatier knives (one of the items on my wedding list) many years ago - most are still going strong.  I have replaced a couple, but then... it has been a LOT of years!
Joined Feb 13, 2008
Sabs are wonderful.  Not that you need any validation, but you made a great choice!  I hope you don't mind some information and advice.

If your knives are au carbone and not Canadian, the handles are POM and not wood.  If they're Canadian, you certainly weren't waiting for K-Sab to make them as the last ones were forged more than fifty years ago. 

The out of the box edge for K-Sabatier au carbones and Canadians is indifferent at best.  If you think they're sharp now, try re-profiling them to 15* on each side, then taking them through the stone progression. 

There are limits to how much polish a carbon Sab will hold -- not just because of corrosion but because of low scratch hardness as well.  If you use oilstones, a Hall's Surgical Black Arkansas or Norton or Hall's Translucent Arkansas stone is about max polish.  If you use waterstones, an Arashiyama 6K is the limit. 

Carbon Sabs sharpen almost equally well on oilstones and waterstones.  As it happens, I have lots of carbon Sabatiers and separate waterstone and oilstone kits.  Not to mention a well stocked stropping kit.  Since my waterstone kit jumps from 3K to 8K, when using it I take my big chef's and petty up to the 8K.  While it's more than is really useful, it doesn't hurt anything either.  

I've been fooling around with stropping the Sabs for awhile and can't tell if it's worthwhile going from 2u compound down to 1u (about 10K Japanese) or not.  Since 1u is a natural jump from my stone sets anyway, I finish there more often than with a more realistic 2u.  If you're using chromium dioxide (the green stuff), which is 1/2u, you're not getting any benefit from it. 

In addition, depending on the texture of the rod you use and your skill in using it, even gentle steeling will take most of the polish away.  So if you're stropping at night with a fine grit "rouge," and steeling in the morning, you're kidding yourself. 

If you don't already have one, you might want to think about investing in a very fine textured ceramic steel, like an Idahone fine (1200) ceramic.  FWIW, I use a HandAmerican (ultrafine) borosilicate on my Sabs for the first three or so weeks of steeling (at home, not in a restaurant), then switch to a worn down old, fine Henckels rod for the next three -- then back to the stones.

Even the borosilicate rod which is as gentle as they come, scuffs an edge -- taking it down to a Japanese waterstone equivalent of around 3K.  That's a best case scenario.

I hope you're using a  "hard strop" (that is, the leather strop is mounted on a hard surface), rather than stropping on a belt as you would a razor.  Also, there are much better strop-loading compounds available these days than anything qualifying as "rouge."  I'm a big fan of the HandAmerican liquids sold at Chef's Knives To Go.  They are very consistent, extremely high quality, and significantly less messy than just about anything else.

Just as there are limits to how much polish it's worthwhile to put on French carbons, there are limits to how far you can take stropping and steeling.  Whether those two are taken separately or together they are not a substitute for actually hitting the stones.  At minimum you have to pull a wire and deburr to create a fresh start edge; and every now and then you have to deal with keeping your bevels flat and correct.

If you're using your Sabs in a professional kitchen and want real sharpness, you should be sharpening on stones at least once a week -- twice a week would probably be better.  Every 10 - 12 weeks is probably enough for a home kitchen.  And yes that includes frequent steeling and stropping as necessary.

Congrats on your knives!

Joined May 22, 2010


The handles are wood. Like... from a tree. I am 38 years old... I know what wood is. These are not polyoxymethylene. I waited for them to be made, because they did not have any in stock with wood handles. I have no reason to lie, nor am I dumb enough to mistake synthetic for wood.

I gave a short review...  which means a lot of details are left out.

Of course I took them to the stones before using them first time. Factory edges blow. I use good waterstones. I know how to sharpen. I have had absolutely no need to take them to the stones every week. They are retaining an edge just fine. Steel knife, then strop. Perfectly sharp. Every use, rinse, wipe dry.

Thanks for the input, you have given a lot of info, and some ideas for me to look into.

But, I'm a bit of a minimalist. Keep it simple.
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