Picking a budget first knife

Discussion in 'Cooking Knife Reviews' started by TheCrumpetMan, Aug 19, 2018.

  1. TheCrumpetMan

    TheCrumpetMan

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    Hi guys,

    I am a Physics student but LOVE cooking, and find myself spending 4+ hours in the kitchen every day. However, until now I have always used whatever knives were lying around, and I think it's now time to buy myself a good chef's knife.

    Unfortunately, like I said, I am a student. In other words, a global knife costs more than I spend on two months' groceries, and I'm usually broke.

    Luckily, I recently won a prize for some academic stuff, and that prize came with £100 of prize money, so I'm thinking I can use up to £40 (ideally ~£20, but for an extraordinarily good knife I could go over) of that to buy a knife.

    I have looked at hundreds of knives over the past week, and so far have narrowed my choices down to these three:
    Richardson Sheffield - V Sabatier - 20cm (8")
    Mercer - Renaissance - 20cm (8")
    Global - GS-89A - 13cm (5")

    Of these, the first one is my favorite because of it's low price and great reviews (the dishwasher safe-ness is quite questionable, but I always hand wash knives anyway).

    The Mercer has been mentioned by lots of reviewers on different sites, but I can't really see what justifies the extra £20, given that the blade is X50CrMoV15 like the V Sabatier and seems just as thick. Perhaps I'm missing something here?

    And finally the Global. I know, it's small. But the idea of getting a Global knife just seems too hard to get over. Is this really that bad an idea? (keep in mind, this will be my only knife until I graduate)

    As you can probably see, I am really quite conflicted here. Like I say, I have never bought a knife so I don't know what to go for. If the Mercer doesn't hold any merit over the V Sabatier I would prefer to save the £20. But if the Global isn't a terrible idea...

    Anyway, what would you guys advise? What would you buy if you were in my place? Any other recommendations? Do note, most cheap knives in America are either not available or quite expensive here in the UK, so I can't buy most of the knives recommended by internet reviewers...
     
  2. sgsvirgil

    sgsvirgil

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    I would recommend anything in the budget to intermediate price range from Wusthof as a first knife.
     
  3. TheCrumpetMan

    TheCrumpetMan

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    Wusthof knives are really expensive here. The cheapest is their Silverpoint range, but their rubbery handles are a bit off-putting... I do really like the CLASSIC range, but they're way out of my range. Thanks for the suggestion though!
     
  4. GoodEnoughGear

    GoodEnoughGear

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    Victorinox Fibrox chef's knife. My 2c.
     
  5. davezatyowa

    davezatyowa

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    Victorinox chef knives are a great value... widely used in professional kitchens, good quality, and very affordable. Victorinox regularly gets top ratings for its kitchen knives. I have a couple of the Victorinox knives that I enjoy using, even though I mostly use more expensive Japanese knives. You can find examples on amazon.co.uk by searching "Victorinox chef knife".

    The 5" Global knife you're considering will almost certainly be too short to be your main cooking knife. Cutting up large veggies with a short knife can get frustrating. The Mercer is not a bad choice.

    You'll also need to consider how they're going to be sharpened. All knives eventually get dull with use...
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2018
  6. benuser

    benuser

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    A basic Victorinox.
    Or a simple carbon steel as
    https://www.sabatier-k.com/couteaux...-au-carbone_cuisine-20-cm-__carbcui20pol.html

    A short blade will dull very quickly as it has only a very small contact area with the board. Besides that, I never would advise a Global. Difficult sharpening, poor value.
    Any blade will dull. And a factory edge faster than any other. You will need at least one stone to keep your knife working.
     
  7. davezatyowa

    davezatyowa

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    I don't know much about this brand (present-day Sheffield is not usually the reputable classic made-in-UK stuff). Be careful about the Amazon reviews. I noted that almost all of the Amazon reviews were for knife block sets, *not* the 8-inch chef's knife you're considering.
     
    TheCrumpetMan likes this.
  8. benuser

    benuser

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    Exactly. Chinese stuff used sold under two great but unprotected names: Sheffield and Sabatier. And have nothing to do with either.
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2018
  9. davezatyowa

    davezatyowa

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    FWIW, I've bought a lot of cheap knives over the years. The least expensive knives I've ever loved?... Victorinox. I still like'em a lot, even though I now have more costly knives. They're comfortable, nimble, sharp-out-of-the-box, have excellent profile and geometry, good grind. They cut/slice very well, and strangely enough, that could not always be said for some of the more expensive knives I've bought. They'll need to be sharpened more often than a good Japanese knife, but then the same is true for most European-style knives.

    They are not thick... not thick like a classic Wustof blade for example. But the relative thinness of the blade helps them to glide through product without wedging the way a heavier knife often will. Occasionally the heavier classic German-style knives are called for, but for most day-to-day use I prefer to use something a bit thinner and more nimble like the Victorinox knives. Something to consider.

    Here in the U.S. you can find them in most restaurant-supply stores, so they're easy to check out. But I'm not sure about in-store availability in the UK.
     
  10. TheCrumpetMan

    TheCrumpetMan

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    Okay guys, thanks a lot for all of the suggestions and advice. Victorinox knives (especially the Fibrox) seem to be the most popular here by far, and davezatyowa says "The Mercer is not a bad choice". So now I need to choose between the two.

    The Victorinox doesn't have a full tang, the Mercer does
    The Mercer costs £19 more than the Victorinox
    The Victorinox is stamped, and the Mercer fully forged
    Lots of reviewers have compared the Mercer favorably to the Wusthof CLASSIC Ikon (which costs ~£100), but more people seem to recommend the Victorinox overall.

    I've also heard a lot of bad things about stamped blades, and nothing annoys me more than a knife that flexes when cutting (unless I'm filleting or something). Does the Victorinox feel solid when cutting?

    Am I simply being attracted to the Mercer because it's shinier (metaphorically and literally)? Gosh this is hard...
     
  11. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    Stamping has nothing to do with the blade being flexible. Stamping is a cost saving method compared to some other choices. There are very good steels that take to stamping just fine. Many stamped blades are cheap steel and overly thin. That's not stampings fault. That's a poor design choice.

    I think the geometry of the Victorinox is better than the Mercer.
     
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  12. benuser

    benuser

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    Forget what people told about stamped vs. forged. And no, the Vic is stiff.
     
  13. TheCrumpetMan

    TheCrumpetMan

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    So Victorinox it is then! Thank you so much to everyone who has helped me out here!
     
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  14. loomchick

    loomchick

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    I know you asked about knives; however, you wrote

    "I am a Physics student but LOVE cooking, and find myself spending 4+ hours in the kitchen every day."

    When do you sleep? I can't imagine doing anything (other than sleeping) for four hours a day while I was going to school . . . classes, studying, work, etc. Also, if a Global knife costs more than you spend on groceries in two months, what can you afford to cook for four hours a day . . . or have you gotten really creative with inexpensive ingredients?