noob knife question

Discussion in 'Cooking Knife Reviews' started by thatsmell, Feb 10, 2012.

  1. thatsmell

    thatsmell

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    SO i bought this new knife for about $30 Canadian and it was super sharp but I was told to use the steel before using it. Now it's less sharp on one side than the other. Did I ruin my knife or is this normal?
     
  2. thatsmell

    thatsmell

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    I forgot to add it's an 8" german chef knife
     
  3. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    Not enough info, but probably not. $30 chef's knives don't need much help to become ruined. Then there's the question of what you mean by describing one side as sharper than the other. What do you mean?

    BDL
     
  4. chinacats

    chinacats

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    Not sure this helps, but I have 'rolled' the edge of a cheap (Whustoff pro) chef's knife just scraping stuff off my cutting board.  Strictly a guess, but can you feel the 'burr' flipped over to one side?  You can run a finger from the spine directly to the edge and feel a 'bump' on one side (right at the edge) and not the other--bad explanation might need someone else to jump in. 
     
  5. thatsmell

    thatsmell

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    When I run my thumb across the blade, from left to right there's more resistance than right to left.
     
  6. chinacats

    chinacats

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    Try steeling (lightly) on the side with resistance...on the less expensive knives it seems as if the edge will just roll over...again this is in my limited experience.  When you finish, both sides should have equal lack of resistance.  Also, just to be clear, most knives do not come 'sharp' out of the box....usually decent edge, but I almost always sharpen a new blade...believe it or not, in my limited experience, the better the knife the worst the edge out of the box...I think they figure if you buy a good knife (tool) you will want to sharpen it yourself.  Also, to be clear, a steel does not sharpen a knife...it aligns the edge...not sure why they would have told you to use a steel first, though it is a good habit when using your knives in general.  One other note is that when using a steel, it should only take a few 'swipes' on either side of the steel/knife.

    Cheers,

    Chinacats
     
  7. thatsmell

    thatsmell

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    Thanks so much.I'm new to cooking but really liking it and wanted a knife better than my walmart one. The knife is a caphalon contemporary and it seems really nice for what I paid. Do you know of it?
     
  8. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    I'm familiar with them, what do you want to know?

    BDL
     
  9. thatsmell

    thatsmell

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    Are they a good beginner knife?
     
  10. chinacats

    chinacats

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    I'm not familiar, but with any knife, a sharp one=a good one, does it feel good in your hands?  I believe cost has more to do with different steel material and somewhat nicer aesthetics.  Good luck, and if you need info on sharpening, there is a ton of good info here, you just may need to search through some other threads. 
     
  11. deputy

    deputy

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    Contemporary's are a "high carbon stainless steel" (I have two of them - a 6" utility and a 10" slicer) and they actually aren't that bad (I don't think). They hold an edge fairly well with regular steeling; however, I have yet to sharpen the ones that I have since I got the stones, so I can't say how well they take an edge.

    They're really not that bad of a knife for the price, I don't think. 
     
  12. thatsmell

    thatsmell

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    You mentioned regular steeling, do you have anything to say about my op?
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2012
  13. deputy

    deputy

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    Perhaps you were just too aggressive with your steeling or maybe use a bad angle or maybe your steel itself isn't right for the knife. What type of steel are you using?
     
  14. thatsmell

    thatsmell

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    Just a cheap one that came with a knife set...
     
  15. chinacats

    chinacats

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    There is a book by Norman Weinstein that goes into pretty good detail on how to steel your knives..  You can find some of his videos on youtube and this may be the best way to figure out how to use a steel properly.  Angles and technique are clearly important.  Most any steel will work fine for what you are trying to accomplish including the cheapo that came with the set.  As you move to other knives and your skills improve, you will likely want to learn more about actual sharpening, or you can use a service--likely once a year or so depending on:  knife itself, how often you use, what you are cutting, the board material, cutting techniques, etc.

    Hope this helps,

    Chinacats
     
  16. deputy

    deputy

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    +1
     
  17. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    Are you steeling wrong? Unless someone's showed you how, you probably are. Go to my blog, and read Steeling Away. The article is also available in this issue of the Chef Knives to Go Newsletter as part of a series I'm doing on basic maintenance and sharpening.

    Cuisinart knifes are made with X45CrMoV15, which is indeed German, is kinda sorta "high carbon" (0.45%), but is pretty lousy.

    They can take an edge on regular stones, but not a very good one without extensive "profiling." They can be profitably maintained with a steel. Because the factory geometry is so thick, the steel so soft and "tough," and the knives' edge holding properties are so bad, it's a lot of work to profile them thinner and probably not worth it unless you're using them to practice your sharpening technique.

    Are they a good buy at the price? No, not really. Forschner Fibrox and Rosewood represent considerably more bang for the buck in terms of better hardness, better edge taking and holding, and are also considerably thinner. Because I don't care for the "German" profile I can't recommend a Forschner chef unless the prospective buyer has some idea of what "losses" that entails. But getting back to the question, Cuisinart knives are outclassed in their price range. If price is not in issue, they're adequate at best.

    As a generic recommendation, I like Forschner Rosewood and Fibrox (same knives, different handle materials) for everything BUT the chef's; and one of the entry level Japanese knives for that.

    The recommendation can change depending not only on what you can afford or what particular knives you need but how you sharpen. I can't overemphasize the importance of sharpening in every aspect of knife use -- including making the decision on when and what to buy. The best advice I can give is: Learn to Sharpen.

    Hope this helps,
    BDL
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2012
  18. lennyd

    lennyd

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    BDL your above post caught my attention because I believe the steel you mention is pretty much the same that was used in the Henckels Pro-S I had previously and my attempts to find info on making them "better" is what caused me to find my way here in the first place.

    I had re profiled most of them (slicer, util, santoku, and chefs as well as made the chefs pretty asymmetric as well) and though doing this did make them better or feel sharper etc my problem was that the same thinning that I had done when re profiling was also what was making them such a problem. The edge would fold just from thinking about using them or so it seemed.

    So my point is that though you can thin them, and get them to feel and even be sharper the steel used just makes it a waste of time. Actually if memory serves me correctly the Santoku somehow produced the best overall results, and I think it had to do with it being a thinner blade in the first place etc, but it still needed frequent steeling, and then in short order it needed to be sharpened again. What a pain.

    Now many of the Pro-S I had were purchased on discount or clearance etc and the actual cost was not too much different than the $30 the OP spent. Found some great prices on them and went for it.

    My issue here is that for just about the same money or for slightly more I moved up to the Tojiro DP and Fujiwara FKM, and I have to say that even though these were more than the less expensive pro-s, but at the same time a whole lot less than the retail price on the Pro-S so I believe they are worth every penny.

    Another thing to consider is that anyone can sell their previous knives on eBay and there is a good chance they will sell for similar or even more than what was originally paid. Not sure that will be the case, but I know that when I was comfortable with my new knives and listed most all my old ones all but two sold for more than I had paid for them.

    I know it can be a financial issue for many to just go spending hundreds of dollars on a couple of knives, but from my direct experience all most need to do is make the jump to one of the more popular entry level brands (for those not familiar with these just check out the link in my signature) where the cash outlay is low so that they can get a good first hand experience in just how well these knives perform and then also better understand why most around here are hooked for life/

    In hind sight making the change was likely one of the more important and difficult at the same time.
     
  19. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    Henckels uses a "proprietary" steel it has specially made. It's not X45CrMoV15, but something very much like X50CrMoV15 -- which is more or less the same thing but with more carbon.

    X50CrMoV15 and it's big sister, X55CrMoV15, are the sweet spot in German steels if you want something extremely durable and are also willing to settle for thick knives. You wouldn't think that 0.05% carbon content would make an enormous difference but it does. Even though I like the high-end German knives (within their context), I can't think of a single X45CrMoV15 I'd consider acceptable.

    Forschner Fibrox and Rosewood are made from X50CrMoV15, hardened to a nominal 57-58, and will hold a 15* edge quite well. Fujiwara FKM is also nominally 58, and the alloy isn't much to write home about. Global is Cromova 18, also nominally 58, and they don't perform or maintain any better than 15* Forschners. Carbon Sabatiers run 55ish, will happily hold 15* or even go more acute, and they get and stay sharp as all get out.

    There's just a lot to this, and "Japanse" isn't enough to describe Dumbo's magic feather.

    But all in all, I agree that moving to the type of alloys used in Japanese knives is very positive.
     
  20. lennyd

    lennyd

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    Seems l sort of jumbled up the p/n's of my old Pro-s and Mundial ( the later is x45 CR mo 14 and feels a bit softer in comparison) so thank you for sorting it all out lol.

    Your comment on the FKM sparks my interest as I have wondered more then once just what is the cause of it having a similar hardness and apparently not so different steel from my german knives but some how manages to get much sharper, feels even more sharp, and with an even more acute edge and asymmetric geometry still goes many times longer before it doesn't feel sharp anymore and needs to hit the stones.

    I have assumed it is in the exact make up of the steel and how it is hardened. But honestly am not sure.

    Just did not make sense to me from the very beginning, and the specs were not like VG10 or any of the higher grade stainless and like you said earlier more similar to the softer western blades.

    On a side note much as I like this knife and it has served me well etc I can not compare the edge taking and holding to the VG10 knives I own, and now that I have allowed the praise of the semi stainless steel in the Konosuke HD (yours included) to lead me to owning one my thinking and likely future choices.are are changing.

    Just where the different lower cost "value" knives will end up being used in the future is to be seen, but I suspect most will remain active in my kitchen at least because the same price vs performance that drove me to their value initially is still making them all a keeper ;)