What will an expensive knife give me, that a cheap one won't?

Status
Not open for further replies.
36
13
Joined Apr 1, 2016
 
I never put a whole lot of money into my private set of knives, never more than 50 bucks for one knife. It all comes down to personal preference, but I don't think expensive knives necessarily are better than their cheaper counterparts
If you don't think that longer edge retention, smaller acute angles, ease of sharpening, thinner blades, and better fit and finish make a more expensive knife "better," then I guess you're right. Some cheap knives are acceptable, but that doesn't equate to being on par with their pricier counterparts. You may place higher value on your money than knife performance, but that doesn't alter the fact that better knives are better.
 
Last edited:
60
19
Joined Jun 5, 2015
To get back on this thread.

I have to admit the handle on the 50 dollar tojiro wa-gyuto is horrible. It's incredible rough and the octagonal shape is too sharp. If it were easier to get japanese knives down here, I would totally buy a better knife.

Or send my knife to one of those instagram knife makers that do custom handles for knives. That would be a great option too.
 
3,248
1,128
Joined Jul 13, 2012
It's that way for a reason - you still get a good grip with your hands are damp.  It's a fairly soft wood just smooth it out a little, ease the edges, apply a little oil to it and you're good to go.  
 
5,541
978
Joined Oct 10, 2005
 
If you don't think that longer edge retention, smaller acute angles, ease of sharpening, thinner blades, and better fit and finish make a more expensive knife "better," then I guess you're right. Some cheap knives are acceptable, but that doesn't equate to being on par with their pricier counterparts. You may place higher value on your money than knife performance, but that doesn't alter the fact that better knives are better.
Ummmm. two schools of thought on this.  I'm in the "other" school, the inexpensive knife school.

See, for the last, oh, 35 years I use knives to help me pay the rent.  I'm stuck on "Victorinox" knives, and use them almost exclusively.  Inexpensive, but not cheap.  They are easily honed with a steel, multiple times a day, bevel angles can be altered easily on water stones but are generally around 20-22.  The knives get used--heavily, chicken bones, a sack or two of onions for Fr. onion soup,  hard chocolate, tough fibrous root vegetables, they get dropped, banged around, I lend them out for the sole purpose of getting work done,  they get a visit to the stones, and the whole process starts all over again. 

Fit, finish and good looks are really not part of the equation for a working knife.  That they fit the hand and not blister or chafe, yes.  That I spend a minimum of fuss getting them sharp, yes.  Edge retention doesn't mean diddly-squat if I need half an hour on diamond stones once a week, if the alternative is 5 minutes on water stones twice a week.  Thinner blades and more acute angles mean more chipping, and That means more work getting those chips out, which also means more time on the stones, a shrinking knife, and a shrinking water stone.

The knife is pretty much like a gun.  Just a useless hunk of steel by itself.  As an employer, I will choose the employee with the cheap knife who can get a sack of onions peeled faster than the guy who has the expensive one and gets all "tingly in the bathing suit area" about the knife, its pedigree, and it's maintainence.es 
 
857
76
Joined May 27, 2013
The knife is pretty much like a gun.  Just a useless hunk of steel by itself. 
Um. No. Sorry. A knife is not like a gun. But you knew I was gonna say something. So did Mimi. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/smile.gif  

Carry on with the knife discussion. . .
 
Last edited:
2,838
644
Joined Jan 4, 2011
Well I guess you're both wrong. Both knives and guns are tools. They do their jobs only when they're picked up and used. Sometimes they're used better than other times. As long as they're properly prepared, as in sharp for knives, they do those jobs just as well as any other type or brand of that tool.
 
475
21
Joined Oct 23, 2013
Size matters. Switching from an 8.5 to 10" Tojiro did help me; I get theough the bag of onions that much quicker.

Lent it to a new cook and she has 7 stitches though :(
 
38
16
Joined Jun 19, 2016
lucky it was a knife and not a gun that you loaned out chefboy, otherwise she could have shot her own hand off in the excitement :)
 
36
13
Joined Apr 1, 2016
I'm stuck on "Victorinox" knives, and use them almost exclusively.  Inexpensive, but not cheap.  They are easily honed with a steel, multiple times a day, bevel angles can be altered easily on water stones but are generally around 20-22.  The knives get used--heavily, chicken bones, a sack or two of onions for Fr. onion soup,  hard chocolate, tough fibrous root vegetables, they get dropped, banged around, I lend them out for the sole purpose of getting work done,  they get a visit to the stones, and the whole process starts all over again. 

Fit, finish and good looks are really not part of the equation for a working knife.  That they fit the hand and not blister or chafe, yes.  That I spend a minimum of fuss getting them sharp, yes.  Edge retention doesn't mean diddly-squat if I need half an hour on diamond stones once a week, if the alternative is 5 minutes on water stones twice a week.  Thinner blades and more acute angles mean more chipping, and That means more work getting those chips out, which also means more time on the stones, a shrinking knife, and a shrinking water stone.
As an employer, I will choose the employee with the cheap knife who can get a sack of onions peeled faster than the guy who has the expensive one and gets all "tingly in the bathing suit area" about the knife, its pedigree, and it's maintainence.es 

So what i hear you saying is

  1. Your employees dont know how to maintain their tools and dont take pride in them
  2. Your environment isnt conducive to certain aspects of some better knives
  3. You dont necessarily need/want better knives

And thats all fine. But, at the end of the day, that doesnt change the fact that better knives are better. They can be made softer, they can be made with ss cladding, they can be made thicker, etc.
I dont know your experience with good knives...but you seem to think the choice is between an F350 or a 911 turbo. However, perhaps the real choice is between an el camino and a Cayenne? I know that it is an imperfect analogy, but also realize that better knives arent monolithic. Benefits include more options in knife design to get a knife that more fully matches the task. All I'm suggesting is that you consider and explore all the choices.
Also, remember that the OP said hes an at-home cook, so most of your limiatations may not fit perfectly in this situation.
 
Last edited:
4,759
1,011
Joined Aug 21, 2004
Benefits include more options in knife design to get a knife that more fully matches the task. .
I can filet a whole salmon, brunoise ripe tomatoes, slice bread, chiffonade a 50# bag of onions, etc with any sharp 12" chef knife given to me, no matter what the price tag of the knife, with equal aplomb.
Yall did see the OP mention that hes an at-home cook and he specifically wants responses to match that scenario, right? Not everyone wants to just get by with a beater knife.
Is my answer more specifically to the scenario?
 
36
13
Joined Apr 1, 2016
I can filet a whole salmon, brunoise ripe tomatoes, slice bread, chiffonade a 50# bag of onions, etc with any sharp 12" chef knife given to me, no matter what the price tag of the knife, with equal aplomb.



Is my answer more specifically to the scenario?
You seem to be accustomed to using your trusty knife for everything, and you've developed skills that might overcome flaws with lesser knives. Does the OP share your abilities? Or could those tasks be performed even better with a better knife? I don't know your skill, and I can only surmise about the OP's---all I know is what I've seen of better, more expensive knives.

Well then you DO realize and understand that Victorinox Forschner knives are not at all, as you put it, "beater" knives.

Oh ... I'm sorry ... you're just an ordinary "Cook At Home" who really doesn't understand those intricacies.
Wow, dude, chill a bit. What do you consider to be a "beater?" I mean a cheap knife that can be abused, and if it breaks can be disposed of with no loss. How does that not apply to a Forschner? Or would I not understand, since i'm just an ordinary "Cook At Home" who really doesn't understand those intricacies? Wait a sec, let me change my profile title to Professional Chef so I can sit at the cool kids' table, too. I forgot that post count and and a job title choice from a drop down box on an online forum mean that I can't understand knives, steels, and usage. Maybe I should change my profile name to Thomas Flippin' Keller and then you'd have a civil discourse with me?
 
Last edited:
857
76
Joined May 27, 2013
I’ve have been known to employ the K.I.S.S method, but only when appropriate. 

Nothing like the gross oversimplification of reality to make it easier to process. It’s like comparing eighth grade math to calculus or the algorithms used for modern day life. It’s a false equivalency. Subtlety and nuance is difficult and complex. Not all tools are the same. Dumbing things down makes them easier to understand. And then there is ideology.

See my pm, mimi. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/smile.gif  
 
Last edited:
4,474
421
Joined Jun 27, 2012
I’ve have been known to employ the K.I.S.S method, but only when appropriate. 

Nothing like the gross oversimplification of reality to make it easier to process. It’s like comparing eight grade math to calculus or the algorithms used for modern day life. It’s a false equivalency. Subtlety and nuance is difficult and complex. Dumbing things down makes them easier to understand. And then there is ideology.

See my pm, mimi. :)

I did.
:level: :beer:

m.
 
856
33
Joined May 14, 2014
pirendeus pirendeus I've been known to go to bat for vickies, too. There's NOTHING wrong with those knives - unless you don't like the handle. But I would never spend more than $100 on a knife I was going to take to work anyhow. It's too much risk. I've seen/heard too many horror stories. The OP seems of a like mind - if you have a good knife, know how to use it, know how to maintain it, you don't "need" a *better knife.

Know, I don't "need" a better guitar, either, but I'd sure love to have one...
 
19
11
Joined Jun 14, 2016
Also, remember that the OP said hes an at-home cook, so most of your limiatations may not fit perfectly in this situation.
I think it's safe to say that this discussion has moved well beyond the boundaries my original post.  Don't mind me though, I'm happy to hang back and watch the fun. :D
That's pretty much where I'm at, I guess.  My current knives do their jobs well, possibly because they're never called on to do anything very advanced, and given the comparatively simple tasks they're put to I have my doubts that there's much more to be gained in my particular case.
 
Last edited:
857
76
Joined May 27, 2013
@Pirendeus I've been known to go to bat for vickies, too. There's NOTHING wrong with those knives - unless you don't like the handle. But I would never spend more than $100 on a knife I was going to take to work anyhow. It's too much risk. I've seen/heard too many horror stories. The OP seems of a like mind - if you have a good knife, know how to use it, know how to maintain it, you don't "need" a *better knife.

Know, I don't "need" a better guitar, either, but I'd sure love to have one...
I used to play a sh*tty guitar on purpose. It makes your technique better. It forces you to get the most out of what you have. Besides, it's a motivator. "I don't deserve a better guitar. When my technique improves and am a better player, then the guitar gods will bestow a better one upon me." /img/vbsmilies/smilies/smile.gif

I used an Ikea knife for a while. This home cook also brought his crappy sharp knives to the restaurant during a stage. 

@Belfaborac  This forum has its fair share of bladeheads. Discussions over knives can get a bit. . . testy.
 
Last edited:
Status
Not open for further replies.

Latest posts

Top Bottom