Kitchen Knives

Mar 22, 1999
Don't you all think that those old hard-steel knives were better than these new ones that are bending when you try to cut anything with it ? Tell me what you think about this.



If you don't mind staining in your kitchen knives, a good tool steel kitchen knife is hard to beat. Modern production kitchen knives generally are not very good. As you get into expensive sets (>$300 US) you can start looking at custom makers and be picky about what you get and find the steel and blade profile you prefer. Henkels seems to rule that mass market for premium kitchen cutlery but, I like the blade profile on Wustoff better.

Personally, I am gradually getting custom pieces made that will be dedicated to the kitchen. BG-42 seems to be the blade steel of choice at the moment but, there are newer steels that may find favor in my kitchen pieces.


p.s. I'm glad see someone from your part of the world contributing. Its nice to have a perspective from a different part of the world then what I normally see.
I think it's important that we not confuse the hardness of steel with whether or not it has stain resistant qualities. One can find both hard and soft kitchen knives in both high carbon and stainless varieties.

I used to be a die hard advocate for high carbon kitchen knives until I did a side by side comparison of the edge retention of an Old Hickory parer in soft 1095 against a soft stainless Victorinox parer in mystery stainless. The Victorinox was still cutting tomatoes long after the edge on the Old Hickory was completely gone. While it did indeed take several gallons of chopped tomatoes to dull the 1095 knife, the fact that the soft cheap stainless blade just kept going and going impressed me enough to convert our whole kitchen to inexpensive Victorinox/Forschner knives.

Interestingly, I've also got a custom high carbon parer done up for me as a gift from somebody that wanted me to see what an ultra thin, ultra hard, (approx. 61-62RC) high carbon steel could do. It's unbelievably flexible due to being almost paper thin, incredibly hard, and yet it's edge retention is *less* than the lowly soft stainless Victorinox parer.

I had previously been totally turned off to the idea of stainless kitchen knives, not by cheap dimestore stainless junk that turns most folks off, but rather by being totally, totally letdown by too hard, too thick, too clumsy Henckel's Professional "S" top line cutlery. I really can't say enough about comparisons of usefulness between the soft stainless Victorinox/Forschners that are a delight to use and use and use, and the crappy pricey poorly made Henckel's Pro S line.

I've never experienced really top of the line custom kitchen cutlery that some here talk about, but since I'm happy with Victorinox, Dexter, Lamsonsharp and Spyderco's most excellent Santoku, I can't really see why I should fork over mega bucks just to see if something higher end would meet my meager expectations.

I get the idea that different folks have wildly different expectations of their kitchen cutlery. Personally, (and this may be where I differ radically from the pack), I would far rather have to steel a knife often, than have to put up with one that's too heavy, too thick and so hard that when it does go dull one has to resort to a serious edge reprofiling. In a kitchen knife, I really like a thin, relatively hard one made of most any of the better stain resistant blends. That's just my humble opinion, and I can see that some folks might want just the opposite.