Need help with new knife suggestions

Joined Dec 28, 2010
Ok so here's the deal, I am new here, but I have been cooking for a long time and the community in college where I live I regularly cook for 40 people, the only problem is the knifes there are crap and no one hones them but me(My dad is teaching me to actually sharpen knives right now). So I am looking for a good knife that will last me awhile.

I have already looked at a Wusthof 6 inch classic series chefs knife which is on sale to the end of the week(consequently when I also get my paycheck), and I have looked at it in a store and have had a chance to handle it. It seems a little handle heavy on the balance, but that doesn't really bother me that much especially if the knife will keep a good blade.

I also my family has a 8 inch vintage Chicago Cutlery chefs knife without a bolster that is nice, except I do kinda miss having a bolster to grab onto. It holds a blade well and I wouldn't mind finding another vintage one of these to have for my own.

My main question is what is the best knife in my price range right now? I would like something relatively good that will last me atleast to the end of my college career. I have looked at Forshners and am a little wary on stamped blades as all the ones in my community are absolute junk, except one sysco brand one that is actually good. But the main thing is I think I want the Wusthof since it is 50 percent off right now leaving it withing my $50 price range. I have access to stones and files and such for sharpening, I just need to find a good knife.

I like any type of handle as long as it is not cheap feeling, and I like the handle design in Wusthof's classic series. I also like a bolster that extends down to the blade area so I can grip it. I also like a knife around 8 inches(sadly the Wusthof is only 6, but it seems nice for me even with my large hands), and I am only looking at getting a chefs knife right now as my budget is tight being a college student.

So sorry for yet another one of these "help me find ____ knife posts", but I really would like to here what people more versed in knifes have to say. So please help and any comments are welcome (I am a bit of a newbie, but I have had knifes around me all my life and carry a pocket knife every day, its just that my dad has always sharpened them so I am branching out and learning to do that on my own).

P.S. Also any recommendations on a good steel for cheap would be helpful as well.
Joined Feb 13, 2008
So far, you haven't mentioned what your budget is or the actual cost of the 6" Wusthof.

I own a 7" chef's I bought for a specific task -- breaking down medium fish, like a deba -- a task it actually performs well.  But other than for that and chopping very small things, like shallots, it's so short that it's pretty much useless.  A 6" would, of course, be even worse -- especially in a "German" profile -- the combination of arc and lack of length would make "rock" chopping practically impossible.  Why even bother?.  There's no way I would buy a 6" as my go to chef's.

10" is fairly standard, and I strongly recommend that size for any beginning professional.  FWIW, the cook's hand size and height have nothing to do with using a longer knife.  It's all grip mechanics and practice.  Whatever, don't buy a knife so short or so long you'll have to fight it every time you use it.

Although many truly lousy knives are made with stamped blades, there's nothing inherently wrong with stamping.  Forschner Rosewood and Fibrox knives are very nice.  They're the same blades, only the handles are different.  I personally don't care for the Fibrox but a lot of people like them.  The Fibrox are a good choice for anyone who grips his knife very hard, finds wood slippery, or is forced to run the knife through the DW.  The Rosewood handles are quite nice.  I've got a few and find them sure, comfortable and pleasant; and have never heard anyone say they didn't. 

Speaking of handles: Yes, Wusthof Classic handles are truly excellent.

Nearly all 6" chef's will be back heavy (Global is the most important exception); 8" less so or neutral; 10" neutral or very slightly blade heavy.  I wouldn't worry too much about "balance" one way or the other though.  It's one of those things which seems important in the store and completely disappears in the kitchen.  Unless the knife is truly out of whack, you'll adapt to it whatever it is.

Some bolsters have finger guards which go down the back of the knife, well below the handle and some don't.  If you want a full finger guard,

your choice are pretty much limited to forged German or French style knives.  In my experience they don't make much of a difference, except that as the knife wears the finger guard needs to be occasionally ground down so that the knife's heel can (a) get all the way down on the board; and (b) get sharpened all the way back to the chin.  I feel about bolsters much the same as I do about balance -- no big thing one way or the other.  But if you really want one your choices are limited.  In a low-priced, 10" forged, with a Wusthof type handle, you're quite likely looking at a Mundial.

Forschners are made with the same alloy as Wusthofs, X50CrMoV15.  I believe Wusthof lists its current production slightly higher on the Rockwell "C" hardness scale, but in practice they seem about the same.  Certainly, their edge holding properties are very similar.  Both wear very slowly and can go fairly long between sharpenings; but both need frequent maintenance on a rod hone.  Because Forschners are thinner they actually seem to get sharper. 

I'm not a big fan of X50CrMoV15, but it's a lot better than the stuff Mundial or the other bargain western makers use. 

If you're not actually carrying it to work every day, the Idahone fine ceramic is an excellent rod.  If you're only steeling 8" knives (or shorter), you can get away with the short rod, if any of your knives are longer, the 12" will make your life easier.  The Idahone is breakable though.  Another well priced, fine, ceramic is the DMT CS-2, which is formed around a steel rod and is nearly unbreakable.  DMT makes diamond rods as well -- DON'T buy one.  I'm only recommending the ceramic.  Forschner (steel) rods are good for the price.  Get "fine" or polished -- anything coarser will make your knife toothy and will eventually eat the knife.  That goes triple for diamond rods.

Sharpness is everything.  Time to start nagging Dad to show you how.

Insofar as I understand what you how you're going to use the knife and your general desires, I recommend a 10" Forschner Rosewood.

Hope this helps,

Joined Dec 28, 2010
Thanks boar_d_laze, and my budget is around $50 and I could maybe spend around $60. I am leaning more towards the Forshner now since I have read some good reviews and remarks on it here, and because I can see what you mean about it maybe being too small for what I am doing. Besides I am used to 8-10 inch knives so it would be less getting used to with a larger chefs knife.

I am still open to other options and look forward to other coments.

Thanks again, PIM

P.S. Th Wusthof is $50 on Amazon and $60 at Macy's, I think both until Friday.
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