Shopping for new knives and found some "vintage" Sabatiers, worth it?

Discussion in 'Cooking Knife Reviews' started by rittenremedy, Jun 22, 2018.

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  1. rittenremedy

    rittenremedy

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    I'm moving (split up with the fiancé and he gets to keep the dishwasher knives) and found some "vintage" Sabatier knives on their site. I'm not a pro, and I'm just looking for a reliable knife capable of holding a decent edge. I want to learn to sharpen with stones. Does anyone have any experience with these? I was only able to find one similar thread here from 2012.

    https://www.sabatier-shop.com/?fond=produit&id_produit=3773&id_rubrique=35

    ANTIQUE SABATIER K KNIFE

    CHEF 30 CM
    AMERICAN BUTCHER 20 CM
    UTILITY CHEF 16 CM
    CHEF 15 CM
    SLICER 19 CM

    Stainless Steel
    Wood Handle (Black and Natural
    Manufacturing Period : 1950 - 1960
    Plate Semelle - Stainless Steel
    Manufacturing Year : 1950 - 1960
     
  2. rick alan

    rick alan

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    Stainless sabs are not wonderful, and many old sabs have bad concavity worn into to the edge, partially because the full bolster was never properly dealt with in sharpening. Now looking at what you linked, those are likely new old stock, still nothing great, though all around better likely than their modern German equivalents. The 30cm you'd likely find too big for other than splitting watermelon and other big stuff. the 2 butcher knives are also a question mark for you. How much you want to spend?
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2018
  3. rittenremedy

    rittenremedy

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    Thanks, that's the sort of thing I'm looking to avoid. Well, not that I know exactly what all that means for a knife, but I got the idea.

    I'd like to keep the price under $100 for a chef, something smaller like a utility, and something serrated, preferably a bread knife. Those are the 3 that I use must often. I'm keeping my steel; X will never use it. The second two I'm not expecting to take up too much of the budget, and I don't care if they don't match.

    If you have a recommendation on a basic stone or stone set (don't know what I really need or how much I should spend), that would be awesome. It doesn't have to be perfect, but I'd like to be able to cut well without too much suffering.
     
  4. rick alan

    rick alan

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    Sorry but I'm feeling it really is bedtime, to be continued, and think about if you might be able to deal with carbon as well as stainless.
     
  5. rittenremedy

    rittenremedy

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    It IS bedtime. I've done a little research, and from what I can tell, the practical difference in use and care is more frequent cleaning? I'll have to break a bad habit of letting cheap knives hang out in the sink, but that sounds doable.
     
  6. Baba Ghanoush

    Baba Ghanoush

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    If I was going to buy a K Sabatier I would go for a Chef's knife from The Vintage Au Cabone Olive Wood Handle line - nice looking cutlery and a lot of knife for the money. However a carbon sab would not be my pick for a first good chef's knife for someone just looking for a reliable knife capable of holding a decent edge. Carbon is more maintenance and the full bolster is complicating sharpening somewhat for an inexperienced sharpener. So a good affordable stainless seems more appropriate. When it comes to good affordable stainless knives in the $100 category the time honored usual suspects are the Fujiwara FKM and the Tojiro DP. The FKM is a mono steel blade hardened to Hrc 57 and the DP is sanmai - cutting edge of VG 10 (Hrc 60) wrapped in soft stainless. Of the two the FKM got the best fit and finish and the DP the best edge retention. I have no hands on experience with the FKM, but have handled, sharpened and used the DP. The DP's F&F is fairly crude: the bevel is somewhat wavy and the edge not uniformly sharp, the boxy eco-wood handle looks more like cheap plastic than wood and the tang is protruding from the handle. BUT the DP cuts well and holds an edge well. Sharpening the DP is not a breeze, but nor is it a particularly difficult challenge, and as a novice sharpener you will get the pride of creating a better edge than the one from the factory. All in all not a bad choice. My first good chef's knife was a Kanetsugu Pro M 210 mm, also a good affordable knife in the below $100 category. Mono steel blade Hrc 57. Much better F&F than the DP, and it takes an edge faster, but the edge retention is not quite as good as with the DP (although not bad). The biggest drawback of the 210 mm Pro M is the narrow blade (40mm), that makes it bit more like a long petty knife or a short slicer than a chef's knife, but other than that it's a perfectly good affordable knife, and it has served me well.
     
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  7. rick alan

    rick alan

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    Fischer Bargoine is a French company and their Zen series offers nice looking knives in very fine grained Swedish stainless, at bargain prices at this time. I think K Sab also offers a nitrogen-rich stainless series that is high-tech steel also. We've never tried them here but I highly recommend looking into the Zen knives, less than a hundred Euro for a 10"/255mm chefs, you can't find Swedish stainless at those prices elsewhere, and the fit and finish looks very high. This stainless also sharpens very easy, almost like carbon.
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2018
  8. chipshopman

    chipshopman

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    Not all sabatiers are created equal and these are the bottom of the pile. No bolster. Decide what knives you want and buy individually many bargains to be had
     
  9. chipshopman

    chipshopman

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    I bought an 8 inch carbon sabatier with a bit of work needed bit clean enough with a tight handle for $18
     
  10. scott livesey

    scott livesey

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    if looking for a sabaier, find the 4 star/elephant series(4 stars and an elephant on the blade). seems to be the best steel and quality control. there are so many places selling these 40's and 50's vintage sabatiers one wonders if they are old or someone just moving beat up looking stock
     
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  11. rittenremedy

    rittenremedy

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    My life has been crazy (moving!), and I just noticed your replies. Thanks! I'm sure I could find this with enough searching, but I figured I'd ask. If I was able to find a vintage knife from a good line, say it had some minor to moderate issues and a great price. Hypothetically:

    If it had some digs from being old and in a drawer,

    Or the tip wasn't a little, but not majorly bent,

    Or the handle had some minor cracks.

    These are just issues I thought of off the top of my head that may or may not be common. Would any of them be deal breakers for someone who might have access to someone who could fix it? I live near enough to Seattle, but I still want to keep the price reasonable.

    That question may be too difficult for this forum, which is fair. It's a complex question.
     
  12. galley swiller

    galley swiller

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    My reaction for vintage blades goes as follows:

    1. For your primary usage chef's blade, don't bother. There are a lot of very good new knives out there at a reasonable price which don't require significant work in profiling, thinning and sharpening. To do those tasks, you are probably going to need multiple stones in various grits and a large degree of patience and elbow grease. When such knives as the MAC HB-85 ($70) and MAC BK-100 ($110) are mostly ready to go with minor tuning, can you really justify the huge expenditure in time, effort and aggravation to make a vintage blade as workable?

    2. If it's stainless steel, don't bother with it. You can't get it to stay as sharp as carbon. Period.

    3. If it's carbon steel and your feeling is "to play around with it to see how well my thinning and sharpening skills are", then sure, go ahead. However, keep in mind that the same objective can be done with an 8 inch carbon steel Old Hickory slicing knife from Amazon most likely for under $20.

    Having said the above for practical advice, I must also confess that I'm just as much a sucker in buying older blades with the excuse of "eventually, I will get around to working on this one". So, I've got a not too inconsiderable stash of junkers - and I shouldn't waggle my fingers too hard at others.

    GS
     
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  13. rittenremedy

    rittenremedy

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    Sounds like solid advice. Do you have a favorite information source for beginner whetstone use?
     
  14. galley swiller

    galley swiller

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    The following is usually for new knives, but can be adapted to older, vintage blades as well.

    First, stone size. Don't bother with any stone which has a face size smaller than 8 inches by 2 inches (in metric terms, about 200mm by 50mm).

    Second, for general sharpening, you are going to need a waterstone of between 800 grit to 1200 grit. That's going to be your basic general grit stone, for when you just need to re-establish your edge.

    Third, you need a fine grit stone of 3,000 to 5,000 grit for refining the edge. That's where you "polish" the edge and make the line of the edge smoother. It relieves the microscopic jags along the edge, and both reduces the friction in cutting and removes stress points which can build up pressure to knock microscopic pieces of metal crystals from the edge.

    Fourth, it's a good idea to have a coarse grit stone of 400 grit as well. This is the stone for massive removal of metal, such as when you need to re-profile a blade to remove a previous edge which has chipped, and/or to thin a blade.

    I would also recommend an angle guide, so that you can feel the various individual angles. The currently used name is "Wedgek Angle Guides", and can be bought from Amazon or ChefKnivesToGo. Having a "feeler" to feel the angle is much better than "By Guess And By Golly" descriptive wordage.

    As for any videos, check out Jon Broida ("Japanese Knife Imports") https://www.youtube.com/user/JKnifeImports


    GS
     
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