Kitchen Cutlery, what do you use?

May 21, 1999
Newbie here. Love my ATS-34 auto’s and others, but I can’t find any kitchen cutlery that discloses their blade alloy. (Anything better than Henckel? They don’t disclose their blade composition.) Need something machine washable, do any of the premiere alloys hold up?
Hi carbon, heavy chinese cleaver, Spyderco Santoku (my favorite), Spyderco parer, Victorinox dinner knives. All except the cleaver have held up well over use. The cleaver shows staining and discoloring over the years but it is said to enhance flavor when cooking in the wok!! Hand washed with S& W(soap and water that is) all my life so can' t tell you about dishwashers.


"To earn a million is easy, a real friend is not."

[This message has been edited by Nakano 2 (edited 27 May 1999).]
I've been bugging various knife companies for some time to come up with a kitchen line that we steel elitists will covet to go with our sport-utility foldlers.

Spyderco's kitchen knives are an alloy called MBS-26, and the chemistry is posted on their web page. Their advertised hardness is a couple of points higher than other kitchen knife companies too.

Most kitchen knives, even from "name" knife companies, are alloys optimized for ease of manufacture and maximum stainlessness. ATS34 will get a spot or two from harsh kichen use and harsh kitchen washing, and the kitchen knife companies don't think their customers will pay extra for a knife that will get blemished in the dishwasher, even if it holds an edge better.

Kershaw uses AUS6M. Last year, somebody at Fiskars (Gerber Balance Plus) said they used 440A. Their new marketing person is in dire need of education about steel.

If you want ultimate edge holding in a kitchen knife, at the expense of resilience, go with Kyocera ceramic.

PS: This place ain't exactly a fan club for the chief executive, but liberals and Democrats also use knives, and some of them are even good cooks and appreciate a sharp one, so maybe one might want to reconsider a screen name with a built-in political argument.

[This message has been edited by James Mattis (edited 27 May 1999).]
Fer chrissakes, FNG, don't you see that word 'search' in the upper right of the page? Try something half way intelligent, click on it and put in 'kitchen,' and guess what, this is one of the things that pop up:

It is a number of our senior and knowledgeable members discussing what they use in the kitchen. Of course, I am sure that they all would be delighted to post again, just for you.

Now that we have the obligatory abuse for the newbie out of the way (sorry about that, nothing personal of course), let me expound a little. Our search engine had been off line for some time, but is working well again. Also, some questions have been asked around at least a zillion times, but we really don't mind someone asking them again, otherwise they wouldn't be tolerated again and again.

You have also asked a question dear to my heart, as I am currently working with Nick Blinoff and Michael Gettier, renown professional chefs who run large quality establishments. I am taking their input, and passing it along to Rob Simonich, a knifemaker of ill repute; oops, a typo, I mean good repute
. Rob has just produced a knife incorporating the design suggestions of Nick.

It is a big knife; 10 inch blade, 15 inch overall. Blade stock is 1/8". The alloy is Talonite (tm), a hard facing cobalt alloy. It is absolutely corrosion proof, stable to 1500 degrees Farenheit. Scales are Cororion.

Tom Walz of Carbide Processors wanted to see if there was a market for a high quality, extremely durable and well made kitchen knife. Well, I can answer that there most certainly is.

I walked into my usual eatery today with the prototype knife with me. The manager asked to see it, and we discussed its' virtues. He is ordering several. While we were talking, a woman approached us, and asked if she could possibly look at the knife, as the Corion is the same color as in her kitchen. Neither the manager or the woman blinked when I told them that the knife would probably cost around $500. The woman, in fact, was incredibly happy that she had found the knife, and said that the price really didn't matter.

Well, I think that the demand is obvious. I practically had to wrestle the knife away from the manager. I am sending the knife back to Rob for sharpening, and Nick will get a chance to slice and dice for a while. Sorry, Mike, you have to wait for a chance.

So, newbie, you managed to ask a most pertinent question. Good job, and if you are interested about the Talonite / Blinoff / Gettier project, just keep tuned. I think that it will be big. Very big.

I have been making a full set of kitchen knives for the past couple of years of 440C mirror polished with black paper micarta scales. I spent a great deal of time with professional chefs designing them, particularly the large chef's knife and the pros up here in Canada are raving about them.

The most common comment I hear is that they are better than Henckel. This is in part due to the weight but more so because of the comfortable handle. The only drawback is that they have to throw away their sharpening steels and purchase a diamond coated steel to maintain these knives.

Now if only more of them would open their wallets.

I don't have the kitchen knife page up on my web site yet but there was a photo in the April issue of KI page 91 or 92.

Micarta is machine washable but the detergents do bleach the colour out badly over time. Why would you put a fine knife in the washing machine anyhow?


I really like my Spyderco Santoku. I have other name brands, but the design and durability (not to mention cost) are plusses. Did I mention cost? Oh yeah, almost forgot the obligatory newbie harassment,,, Hey FNG! Love the name, but he was the suckee, Monica was the Sucker...
I have started seeking out custom/semi-custom makers for my kitchen wares. Thanks to the forums, I have a Rinaldi TTKK which I love. 5 1/2 inches of BG-42 that won't dull when I slice potatoes for a meal!

Now, to find someone who can make a Talonite chef knife in reasonable timeframe.

Price? Well considering most people I run around with buy kitchen knives one per lifetime, $300 or $500 factored over 20 or 30 years really isn't that expensive is it?

Mel Sorg is currently working on a custom kitchen slicer/chopper for me. He was quite helpful in discussing details of design and materials, and his prices are very reasonable.
Many thanks to all who have responded. Clearly there are a lot of choices when it comes to kitchen blade steel. I am looking forward to doing the research needed to find the ultimate kitchen knife. By the way,if us newbies didn’t ask the same old questions over and over, you old timers wouldn’t have anyone to tell your same old stories(a.k.a. lies) over and over to, right? Thanks guys, for the warm welcome, looking forward to future correspondence

JAMES MATTIS- if you or any of the other moderators think my handle is over the top just give me the word and I’ll gladly change it. Otherwise, I’m a big boy, I’m more than happy to suffer any grief throne my way. After all, surely if there are any liberals or democrats in this chat room they most certainly will have turned in their knives, along with Sharon Stone, to their local police departments by now (ha ha).

[This message has been edited by clintonsucks (edited 27 May 1999).]
For the steel, in term of achieving the highest matter separation index possible, O-1 is the premier choice. The blade will stain in an instant if not kept clean, but the edge can be taken to razor and is brought in line with a steel easily. A2 is also a great choice. Myself, I keep my knives clean and appreciate the patina that comes with use.

For the non-steel, I can't wait to get my mitts on the Talonite blade soon to be brought to us by the Welch/Simonich prodution team! Gentlemen, we shall see.....

If you spend time in the kitchen, if this is a time that is enjoyable for you, than by all means commission a custom maker to do a blade for you. TH Rinaldi does fine work, and I am gnashing my teeth waiting for Rob Simonich's piece.

The knives I am using in the kitchen now are from Doc Gundersen at L&H knives. These boys are sharp, but they're O-1...not for everybody. Also a deadly sharp RJ Martin.

Get some good pieces that are a joy to use...and keep them sharp!



I love to cook and have taken hundreds of hours of classes from professional chefs.

Many chefs don't get off of buying high cost knives due to the abuse and possibility of being lifted. Forschner (Victornox or Swiss Army Brand) makes quality knives with stamped blades. I used these for a few years.

Last year I purchased a bunch of Wusthof knives and really like them. For the larger chefs knives get the extra wide blades.

I think it depends on you skill and budget. You don't need a hundred dollar knife to cut onions. But, it makes it more fun!

If I were doing it again, I'd look at customs very close.

Sid Post: You used my favorite excuse to buy a new knife!!! Now I have to find a new one.

Anyway, I use a Henckels set of five knives with the stand and steel and find that whatever steel they use in their drop forging, it is definately stainless and holds a very good edge, better than my Benchmade knives anyway. (Not a knock on Benchmade) I've also found the balance of these knives to be absolutely superb for their respective uses. The chef's knife feels alive in the hand when using the proper grip, and I have yet to sharpen the bread knife after many, many loaves.

A fabulous bargain, in my opinion. I bought the set from Brian at Discount Knives a couple of years ago.



For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Romans 6:23
I've used Henckels for about 20 years and they are tremendous. I recently saw in Smoky Mountain Knife Works catalog a line of Gerber kitcken knives. I don't remember what steel was used, but will have their new catalog online June 1. You should be able to find out there what the Gerber's are made of.
I have a collection with: Case XX, Chicago Cutlery, Forschner, Henckels, Joyce Chen, Dexter Russell, Russell Green River, Sabatier, Tedron Swords (Moly Vanadium), Ekco Flint Vanadium, Ontario, Imperial, Wingen,... (did I mention I love knives?).

Most of these I have bought for about one dollar each at garage sales, Goodwill, or Salvation Army stores. There are so many women who don't know a quality knife when they see one it is amazing. When the knife gets dull they switch to shiny serrated junk and dump those odd knives that they got as presents. I even got a Randall Model 10 for one dollar a few weeks ago.

If you really cook you need an 8" Chefs knife more than any other. It should be made of flat sheet metal rather than cast. This is because you want to be able to sharpen the whole blade from tip to handle end so that every part of the blade that can contact a cutting board is part of a continuous edge. You don't want the needless blade reinforcement at the handle edge of the blade that are found on many premium knives. Look at the professional knives Forshner makes with plastic handles. They don't have metal that gets in the way. With the chefs knife you can slice and dice against a good plastic cutting board with maximum efficiency. The tip end can serve for most practical boning operations. I use my Forschner 430-8 with the rosewood handle more than any other knife that I own.

I of course have lots of other blade shapes which see less use. The next most usefull is a 2.5" paring knife. Then a boning knife and a small chefs knife.

In the kitchen you can use a steel or ceramic steel to keep your knife constantly sharp. My favorite steel was Flint Vanadium Stainless, but I guess I have to buy used to get that. Likewise I like Anton Wingen, but they're gone too. Chicago Cutlery, Forschner, Henckels, and Sabatier are what I give as gifts. Sabatier has a non-stainless steel that takes an unusually aggressive edge. It has a lot of what I call 'tooth' which slices meat like nobodies business. I just wish they didn't have the blade reinforcer at the heel of the blade. The Russell Green River line also takes a very sharp edge.

"Defense against knife attack:
Option 1. If you have a gun shoot him."

[This message has been edited by Jeff Clark (edited 28 May 1999).]

[This message has been edited by Jeff Clark (edited 28 May 1999).]
I picked somebody's brain at Fiskars/Gerber about a year ago, and was told that their Balance Plus line is made from 440A.

Fiskars' kitchen knives web page has been removed for remodelling, and therefore the links to it on my web page are busted. They're a good alternative if you want non-ugly kitchen knives.

By far the most diverse lines of kitchen knives are Forschner and Russell-Harrington. If you want to pick from 40 different "boning knives," they are the catalogs to check out. Their customers are the restaurants and other professionals. They both have huge lines of knives with sanitary synthetic handles. Forschner's are black, mostly, and Russell-Harrington's are white, mostly.

Forschner kitchen knives can be seen at

Russell Harrington is at

I doubt if any retailer keeps their whole lines in stock, but I and presumably other dealers know whom to call to get them in a week or so.

I stopped off at a restaurant supply store a couple monthes ago. If you've never been in one of these places, you've got to check it out. Talk about good, hardworking eqipment for a honest price! Anyways, I picked up a "Sani-Safe" paring knife for about $5 and the spousal unit and I use it daily. Still has the original edge, still very sharp. The SU is not shy about telling me when the kitchen knives need sharpening.

Last year, I replaced my kitchen knives with a small flock of Global knives (both forged and non-forged versions) and a Black Kyocera ceramic knife.

All in all, very very nice knives to work with.