Newbie question on de Buyer, Fischer Bargoin knives

Discussion in 'Cooking Knife Reviews' started by Mark., Jun 10, 2019.

  1. Mark.

    Mark.

    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    1
    Exp:
    Beginner/Enthusiast
    Hello all,
    As my early onset mid age crisis resulted in spending more and more time in the kitchen (better than splashing out on Porsches, I guess), I started upgrading my equipment and this community has been more than helpful. Big thank you to all taking part in the discussions and sharing your knowledge!
    After receiving and testing my two recent toys - de Buyer Carbone+ and Prim'Appety Sauté pans, which both are wonderful - I've naturally looked at the company's knife assortment and at least the design and description looks very nice. I've also looked into Fischer Bargoin Zen series, which, at least on paper, sounds very promising. The problem is - I can't find any reviews of them and have nowhere near to try them by myself. So my question is:
    - Does anyone has experience with de Buyer (especially the FK2 line) and Fischer Bargoin Zen knives and could comment on how they retain sharpness, do they withstand a bit of abuse, etc?

    The reason why I'm looking at these knives is a bit weird. Originally, I was really looking forward to have the Wüsthof Classic, then after trying it, Zwilling and some other similarly priced German blades, they just didn't feel natural in my hand. I've had held some Japanese models in my hand, but I feel like my knife skills are not there yet. And then in a butcher's shop in small village in Belgian Ardennes I saw him slicing meat with an old Fischer Bargoin knife (not Zen), he kindly let me try it and some Sabatiers he had around him and I did like how they feel. Something in the middle between the German heft and Japanese suicidal lightness, I guess. Then after researching them online I came to the conclusion, that French knives have issues due to using softer steel, keeping an edge, etc. That's why I'm interested if someone has worked with the aforementioned knives or could recommend me a decent French chef's knife.
    P.S. I know how to use a wet stone and my crappy supermarket knives are anyway doing more damage than good in the kitchen, so I am confident that I need a proper knife :)
     
  2. galley swiller

    galley swiller

    Messages:
    492
    Likes Received:
    70
    Exp:
    At home cook
    Welcome to ChefTalk.

    While I've not used either of your two mentioned brands, a quick glance at the de Buyer website showed the "FK2" line uses "X50CrMoV15" steel. That's stock, standard 4116 steel, the same steel as used in Wusthof's "Classic". Just from seeing that factoid, I'd guess that most FK2 line knives would have sharpening and edge retention characteristics similar, if not identical, to other 4116 steel knives - in short, a tenacious steel which resists abrasion and dulls more quickly than a knife made with something such as Hitachi steel.

    Can you tell us what country you are in? Cutlery availability is hugely affected by nationality.

    GS
     
  3. Mark.

    Mark.

    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    1
    Exp:
    Beginner/Enthusiast
    Thanks for your comment! I'm based 50/50 in Belgium/Lithuania, but often am in Germany, Netherlands and other countries around. Both knives are available here in Belgium.
     
  4. galley swiller

    galley swiller

    Messages:
    492
    Likes Received:
    70
    Exp:
    At home cook
    I'm not too surprised that a well-used older blade (such as the Fischer Bargoin or the Sabatier blades) would feel good to you. Many of the older knives were jewels in the rough, made for the ages, when quality was essential to continuous sales.

    Quite a few older cutlery brands and firms have changed their emphasis over the years, many not for the better. An example would be the firm and name of "Gustav Emil Ern". They produced some of the finest blades (carbon steel) coming from Solingen, Germany. Unfortunately, the firm went bankrupt and disappeared in the 1980's. The name was sold separately and new production knives with the Ern name became available for the mass market, but made outside of Germany from stainless steel. Only the name remained - without any other link to the past that I am aware of. As a user and collector, I am willing to seriously look at (and consider buying) the older carbon steel blades, but I won't bother with any of the new stainless steel blades. Whether or not that is the case for Fischer Bargoin, I don't know.

    Sabatier knives are in a consideration category all their own. First, there has never been a singular Sabatier cutlery firm. From the earliest trademarks for Sabatier cutlery (in the early 19th century), there has always been at least two (and usually multiple) independent cutlery firms or partnerships, usually based in Thiers, France.

    So, I'm going to first suggest you consider what blade length you want to use. A length of 200mm should be the minimum length for a chef's knife, though I would strongly suggest a length of around 250mm. For the first day or two, the extra length will feel awkward, but soon it will feel natural.

    Second, I'm going to suggest you consider getting a Japanese blade. My day-to-day blade is a Mac BK-100 blade. It's a blade intended for commercial work, with a blade length of 255mm. The spine thickness is 2.5mm, which provides an appropriate level of stiffness. The edge profile is 50-50, which is western culture symmetric (rather than Japanese asymmetric). It has (and holds) a somewhat decent initial edge sharpness, though it can be improved. It is relatively easy to sharpen. The blade profile is a decent approximation of the blade profile of the old carbon steel Sabatiers. This is a blade intended for plain, no frills commercial usage. The price I am seeing is 119 euros.

    If you are insistent on a 200mm blade length, then the Mac HB-85 would also be a decent choice. It is a lighter and more flexible blade, with a spine thickness of 2.0 mm. The price I see is 75 euros.

    As far as I can tell, Mac Knives are sold through exclusive national distributorships. Mac Knives International does not identify any Belgium distributors, but does identify LLC Statolinas as the Lithuanian distributor. There are also Mac distributors in other European Union member states, including The Netherlands, France and Germany, as well as other countries.

    Galley Swiller
     
    Mark. likes this.
  5. rick alan

    rick alan

    Messages:
    2,719
    Likes Received:
    217
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    Japanese Chef Knives is probably a company you can buy from, and i would think Japanese Natural Stones also.

    Benuser posted this link to these K Sabs that are made of14C28N, Never had a K Sab myself but they are a well known quantity, great profile and good grinds, and it's a great steel.
    https://www.sabatier-k.com/cuisine-25-cm-serie-200-manche-en-g10.html
     
    Mark. likes this.
  6. Mark.

    Mark.

    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    1
    Exp:
    Beginner/Enthusiast
    A little update:
    I’ve decided to go ridiculously cheap (26€) towards my first “better” knife and after trying and quite liking it, purchased the Frost’s/Mora Cook’s knife 4216PG. I’ll need to upgrade for sure after a while, but I hope this will be a good knife to improve my skills.

    I will post a review after a few months on its performance.

    Any suggestions on which whetstones to purchase for it? I’m thinking about Fällkniven DC4, should it be ok for some sort of Sandvik steel used for this knife?
    https://www.fallkniven.com/en/knife/dc4/
     
  7. rick alan

    rick alan

    Messages:
    2,719
    Likes Received:
    217
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    Sounds like a good choice, these knives are twice as expensive here in the States, rare example where we pay more buying here.

    25 micron is like 1K grit waterstone, your Sandvick 12c27 steel would benefit from a 4K+ finisher to go along with that. 12C27 can take a razor edge, waterstones will work fine. Enjoy!
     
    Mark. likes this.
  8. Mark.

    Mark.

    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    1
    Exp:
    Beginner/Enthusiast
    Thanks!
    So I should get something like 1000 for coarse work and 4000 for finishing, if I understood you correctly?
     
  9. rick alan

    rick alan

    Messages:
    2,719
    Likes Received:
    217
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    1K is for re-establishing an edge, 4K+ is for finishing/touching-up. 4K is the minimum grit to use here, unless you like a really toothy edge. But with this steel you can use as high a grit as you like.

    A 3-400K stone will be nice to have so you can do some thinning sometime. From videos I saw the knife has some decent distal taper near the tip, is probably decently thin at the edge in general, but could still probably benefit from a little more thinning at the edge.
     
    Mark. likes this.