Knives for a Novice

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Joined Dec 11, 2017
Hey all --

I've read a bunch of threads on here and finally decided to post :). Long story short -- when it comes to cooking, I am both a novice, and do it not very frequently. I'm a single guy, so I probably only cook at home 1-2 times a week, and many times that's just something quick. Because of this, I've always had big box store knives that are frankly terrible. Like, the blade separates from the handle terrible. I'm tired of terrible knives. Perhaps it sounds silly, but on the occasions I *do* cook, I'd like to have a good experience instead of a frustrating one, and I think a decent set of knives will help with that.

Knife recommendations seem to run the gamut here and elsewhere, but I'm currently leaning towards this Victorinox set. These knives seem well reviewed here and just about everywhere else in terms of price - performance ratio. I was originally looking a Globals, Macs, and some other Japanese brands, but honestly, while I could afford them, I think they may be overkill for someone like me who just won't use them too heavily. I suspect the Victorinox will be so much better than the serrated Target junk I've used most of my life that it will feel like a revelation -- plus the price is such that I can always upgrade it without being out too much. With that long intro, my questions:

1-- Thoughts on my chosen set? Any other brands I ought to consider instead?

2-- I see debate on 8" vs 10" chef knives. I'm thinking the 8" in this set is fine for me, for a good while. Thoughts?

3-- Is the 8" chef knife fine to carve, say, turkeys with? Or would I need a carving knife separately?

4-- One thing I've learned on this forum, is a cheap sharp knife is better than a $250 hand-forged dull one. To that end, I'm thinking about sharpening. Honestly, I don't see myself learning the whetstone stuff anytime soon, maybe down the road, but not now. Thoughts on alternatives? I've seen this electric sharpener recommended -- any good? I don't mind paying if it works well and lasts :). Some others have recommended the MinoSharp 3 stage instead?

5-- Also relating to sharpening, what angle is recommended for the Victorinox? I've seen some suggestion they are 20 OOTB, but some chefs on here have said they can handle 15?

Thanks in advance, sorry for the long post ;).
 
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Joined Jan 18, 2014
If you're going to use an electric sharpener then a vic is probably the way to go.
If you want a better knife, then you'll really want to get into stones - not that it's hard, but that's your choice.

As to the length, it depends upon the space you have and what your comfortable with. I personally prefer a longer knife, around 10 inches, my wife preferes 7 inches.

8 inches seem sufficient to many people.
As to carving a turkey, try it and see. If you find it too short then buy a longer carver.

Knives tend to be very personal things, an 8 inch vic is not going to set you back much, and it should help you work out your preferences.

If you do only cook 1-2 times a week, then a half decent japanese knife will go a long time between sharpening.
If you are in the states, then give Jon at JKI a ring.
 
2
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Joined Dec 11, 2017
If you're going to use an electric sharpener then a vic is probably the way to go.
If you want a better knife, then you'll really want to get into stones - not that it's hard, but that's your choice.

As to the length, it depends upon the space you have and what your comfortable with. I personally prefer a longer knife, around 10 inches, my wife preferes 7 inches.

8 inches seem sufficient to many people.
As to carving a turkey, try it and see. If you find it too short then buy a longer carver.

Knives tend to be very personal things, an 8 inch vic is not going to set you back much, and it should help you work out your preferences.

If you do only cook 1-2 times a week, then a half decent japanese knife will go a long time between sharpening.
If you are in the states, then give Jon at JKI a ring.

Great, thanks for the input! I may eventually get into stones, but probably not right away. So with that, I'm thinking I'll stick with the Vic set for now -- it seems like it'll be a good set to improve my knife skills with. And, if I get into stones, it won't be a set that is so expensive I'll overly fear damaging it. Then down the road, I'll potentially look into better Japanese knives.

If I do go the electric sharpener route for now, do you have suggestions? The Chef's Choice Trizor XV (different from the one I linked) seems to be recommended the most, but I'd appreciate any thoughts! It's pricey, but if it does the job well, I'm willing to do it.
 
2,563
538
Joined Apr 25, 2014
V shaped pull through sharpeners are terrible. They rip out chunks of metal instead of properly creating and removing a burr to leave a crisp edge like you would get on stones. Electric pull through sharpeners are even worse. You'll lose too much metal and the knife will get fat and wedge.

Ken onion work sharp if you are going that route. Better and cheaper than chefs choice. Although for the same price you could have a wet grinder...

Just learn to use stones is my recommendation. You're going to need to eventually when your knives need thinning.
 
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Joined Jul 1, 2018
I'm In a similar situation as azmordean and as well as a new set of knifes I was wondering what stones people would recommend? And is it worth sharpening the cheap knifes I already own? Or are some knifes that cheap they're not worth sharpening.

Thanks for your help and sorry for slighlty highjacking the thread haha.
 
2,852
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Joined Nov 15, 2012
I enjoy thinning out and otherwise reprofiling cheap knives, and these are always in desperate need of thinning. A Cutco parer I did a while ago was a real pleasure, 440A stainless might not have the greatest edge retention but it is not so abrasion resistant as many other cheap stainless are, and it does take a keen edge. And the knife looked damn good.

A cheap $25 King 300 grit does nicely for a course stone, and allows you to jump right into a 1K. If you really want to get into it then one of the 220 grit Pink Bricks at $40. The stones you get depends on where you are geographically relating to what things cost there, and ultimately how much you want to spend.
 
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2,852
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Joined Nov 15, 2012
Well I only gave you a couple course stones. Tell us where you domicile (UK?, Australia?, Daluth?), and at least I can think about it more over the 4th of July celebrations here.
 
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Joined Jul 1, 2018
I'm from the UK, also would you recommend me learning through YouTube videos and just practicing my technique?

Thanks again.
 
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