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Re: Knifes

    Posted By: Colin
Wednesday, 20 September 2000, at 9:40 a.m.

In Response To: Knifes (Don Ford)

Don,

I own a quite a few (really too many) knives, from the manufacturers you mention, as well as several other.

In my opinion, the best made knives are those from F. Dick and Company. Why do I say this, what are my qualifications, and how to tell quality of construction?

My qualifications include a career as a scientific glassblower. While I am not an experienced metal worker, quality and precision construction is similar in both metal and glass.

F. Dick knives are better made: Joint are tighter and smoother, metal is not overpolished. For example, examine knives from several different manufacturers. While closing your eyes, run your finger over the handle to metal joints and/or the rivets. In a knife with perfect finish, you will not be able tell where one material stops, and the next starts. Second, examine and feel the top of the blade. This edge is polished. If it is overpolished, the corners will be rounded off. If not, they will be smooth but not rounded. My F. Dick knives, in all these tests, are better made then my others.

F. Dick also supplies most cooking schools, like the CIA. One company claims that they are less expensive and less well-known because they do not spend money on advertising.

If the best knives for the money is an objective, I strongly recommend Forschner knives, particularly those with Fibrox handles. While I think a forged cleaver is better than a stamped one, for all other uses stamped steel knives are just as good as forged ones.

If you want to use the excellent Chef's Choice electric knife sharpner, be aware that any knife with a bolster (virtually all forged knives) will not allow you to sharpen the blade all the way to the end. The well-made knives that will allow full length sharpening with a Chef's Choice machine are:
The Messermeister's San Moritz line
The Chef's Choice line
Forschner

What knives do you need?
8 inch Chef's (the #1 knife in a collection)
3-4 inch parer
Long serrated for bread and tomatoes
10 inch carving knife with a granton or kullenschlif edge (you will not believe how much this type of edge helps until you try it)
A long steel for setting the edge

In addition, many people like to get a 6 inch utility or sandwich knife. This is like a light-weight chef's knife. My wife uses our's a lot, while I seldom use it.
Some people also like to have a cleaver.

This totals only four-six knives plus a steel, and will easily do 99+% of all cutting jobs.

Lastly, get yourself a knife storage system that does not rest the knife on the sharp edge of the blade. Why go to all the trouble of sharpening a knife well only to constantly dull it by sliding it into and out of a slot on it's sharp edge. Rest the knife on it's side, use a magnetic strip, or rest it in a vertical slot, just not on it's sharp edge.

Two excellent sources of knives and information on knives are:
www.cutlery.com
www.cookswares.com

Colin

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